MARQUETTE - When it comes to defending against the Marquette Senior High School boys basketball team, it's a matter of picking your poison.
The Class ABC No. 1-ranked Redmen placed four players scoring in double figures in a 56-43 non-conference win over visiting Ishpeming Tuesday night.
AJ Grazulis led the way with 16 points, but he got plenty of help from teammates Mark Pap (15), Andrew Nyquist (12) and Brad Brow (10).
"I'm real happy with our balance. No one is selfish on this team," MSHS coach Brad Nelson said after his team improved to 14-1 this season.
"It's the first time we've had four in double figures since December, and it's a good thing to have it now with districts coming up.
"You want to have that balanced scoring."
Marquette's balance was particularly evident in the first half when the Redmen took a 30-22 edge. Pap, Brow and Nyquist all had eight points apiece, while Grazulis had six at that point in the game.
"Up to this point, our size has put us over the top," said Nyquist, who added five assists to his point total. "But you have to look for (scoring) balance at this point of the season."
Ishpeming (5-8), which got 15 points and seven rebounds from Joe Lyle and 10 points from Alex Briones, bogged down the MSHS offense early with a 1-2-2 zone.
The Hematites trailed just 12-11 after one quarter with the help of seven points by Lyle.
"That zone has worked quite well for us for the last half-dozen games," IHS head coach John Tiziani said. "We just need to score a few more points."
Added Nyquist: "Their zone slowed us down. Coach Tiz came up with a good game plan. But in the second half, we moved the ball around faster and that opened the inside."
The 6-foot-7 Grazulis scored six points in the third quarter - all on putbacks - to help MSHS hold off the Hematites, who got a pair of triples from Derek DeCaire.
Grazulis and the 6-6 Pap then scored four points each to begin the fourth quarter for an 8-2 Marquette surge that opened a 51-39 MSHS advantage.
"The key was their big guys (Grazulis and Pap)," Tiziani said. "We have three 6-foot guys up front and that height disadvantage is difficult to contend with.
"We let it get away in the fourth, but I'm extremely pleased with our effort. The kids have not let up or quit."
Nelson, whose team held a slim 26-23 edge on the boards, said ball movement in the second half helped his Redmen.
"We did a good job waiting and getting a good look (for a shot)," he said. "We knew Ishpeming would play a solid defense and that it wasn't going to be an easy game."
Ishpeming took the JV contest, 50-36.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.