4th-quarter run propels Marquette Senior High School girls basketball Redettes to Redettes Shootout championship
By RAY BRESSETTE
Journal Sports Writer
MARQUETTE — Marquette pulled away in the fourth quarter to down Petoskey 55-36 and win the championship as hosts of the Redette Challenge on Wednesday afternoon in Marquette.
Junior forward Chlaudia Hale earned MVP honors of the tournament, scoring 29 points in two games.
Marquette head coach Ben Smith said his team put together a much needed defensive step up in the tournament sweep.
“It’s nice to win a tournament that has a good group of teams on your court,” Smith said. “Petoskey has some good kids who forced us to play physical. It was a close game where both teams played (well) in stretches, but it was our better defensive play that helped us finish … at the end and earn the win.”
Despite the score, the game was close through the first three quarters as Katie Hoka scored five points in the first half to lead Petoskey with her 5-foot-11 presence in the paint.
But Petoskey’s triumvirate of girls taller than 6-feet were quieted throughout Marquette’s offensive surge that gave them a 24-16 lead at the half.
Kellsey Grange continued Marquette’s surge in the second half to extend the Redettes’ lead to nine points, though Petoskey wouldn’t go away quietly.
The Northmen outscored Marquette 12-10 in the the third quarter to cut the score to 34-28 until a defensive effort from Bridget Pliska and Amber Huebner allowed Marquette to take control in the fourth quarter.
Pliska alone recorded five rebounds in the fourth quarter, totaling 10 in the game, while Huebner added nine rebounds for the game to prevent many second-chance efforts by the Northmen as they tried to climb closer in the fourth.
Huebner also earned four steals, helping Marquette’s 18-6 run to open the fourth quarter and earn the tournament sweep.
Smith credited the turnover battle late in the game.
“We trapped differently with man-to-man (defense),” Smith said. “It took (Petoskey) out early in the third, especially with their travel factor, and it helped us force crucial turnovers.
“Forcing turnovers is great, but if you can turn them into layups it makes it all the better. We did a better job making (them in) stretches in the fourth and didn’t need to compete every trip down the court.”
Hale led all scorers with her 17 points, while Huebner was the only other player on either team to break into double figures with 10.
Petoskey head coach Bryan Shaw said his team got a taste of what postseason matchups could look like down the road.
“Marquette is a very good basketball team for our district,” Shaw said. “We played three quarters, and they played the whole game. We know what they’re made of and what their potential could be when districts come around.
“Their pressure got to us at the end, and they got run-outs that they’re handling well all game.”
Sault Ste. Marie defeated Calumet 45-32 in the consolation game to take third place.
Marquette returns to the court Tuesday night at Gwinn, and Smith said his team has much to build on for the matchup coming off the tournament victory.
“We’ve played really hard for stretches and made strides, but we still have a ways to go,” Smith said. “It will come down to the last few games of the season working on adjustments, and we’re not leaving here thinking everything’s figured out.
“We have a ways to go, and hopefully we’ll get it in order for Gwinn.”
Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.