All stretched out: Gwinn girls basketball team in midst of tough 2-week stretch after losing 51-45 to Ishpeming

Gwinn’s Brook Mannor, left, and Ishpeming’s Mariah Bertucci scramble for the ball with the Modeltowners’ Tierra Taylor, center, looking on as the ball heads out of bounds in the third quarter of their high school girls basketball game played at the Modeltowners' gym on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

GWINN — The Gwinn girls basketball team sure is being tested in the new year.

Counting a game coming up at Negaunee on Thursday, the Modeltowners will face three of the top four Class A-B-C teams in the Upper Peninsula along with the top-ranked Class D team in the first two weeks of 2018.

Gwinn couldn’t quite pull out a victory at home Tuesday, falling to A-B-C No. 4 Ishpeming 51-45.

This came after last week’s loss at A-B-C No. 3 Marquette and victory over Class D No. 1 Munising.

“This is quite a gauntlet, but I think it’s good to see what the best teams are like,” GHS coach Ben Olsen said. “These are the probably the two most complete games we’ve put together the last two years, this one and the Munising game.”

Tuesday’s back-and-forth encounter was decided in the fourth quarter after Gwinn led 16-11 after the first quarter before Ishpeming grabbed leads of 32-26 at halftime and 37-36 after three quarters.

“We got as close as one point at the end of the third and in the middle of the fourth, but we just couldn’t seem to get the basket to get us over the hump and give us the lead,” Olsen said. “A lot of it was self-inflicted, balls bouncing off feet or someone stepping out of bounds, but give Ishpeming credit — they made the plays down the stretch. There’s a reason they’re 7-1 (before Tuesday).”

The key play might’ve been made by Hematites senior guard Mariah Austin with about a minute and a half left.

Olsen said his team trailed by one point when Austin was fouled but made a layup on the call. With the free throw, it turned that narrowest of leads into a four-point cushion.

Austin also led Ishpeming scorers with 14 points, while fellow senior Madigan Johns and junior Madison Pruett added 10 points apiece. Johns also paced Hematite rebounders with 11.

Gwinn senior Tierra Taylor led all players with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Teammate Mallory Delmont scored 11 points, while fellow junior Trish McGuire pulled in eight rebounds to go with six points.

In the night’s opening game, the Ishpeming JV team defeated the Kingsford freshmen, though a score wasn’t available.

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Marquette 60, Escanaba 51

At Marquette, senior center Mo Miller led the Redettes with 18 points in a bounce-back win over Great Northern Conference opponent Escanaba. A night earlier, the Redettes lost at undefeated Negaunee for Marquette’s first loss of the season.

Marquette head coach Ben Smith said his key players found open space to maneuver.

“We need to keep trying to find Mo, Avery (Ledy) and Sydney (Kivi) in the post for our scoring and to open up our shooters,” he said. “Claudia (Hale) also had a nice double-double with three 3-pointers.”

MSHS (8-1) led just 16-14 after one quarter, bumping it to 29-20 at halftime and 43-29 by the end of the third quarter.

Claudia Hale added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Redettes, while Kivi had 10 points. McKenzie Menkovich led the Eskymos with 14 points.

Marquette also won the JV contest 60-14.

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Baraga 40, Republic-Michigamme 16

At Baraga, senior Shawna DuMoulin tallied 10 points for the Hawks, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Baraga on the road.

The Vikings outscored the Hawks 9-3 in the first quarter and held a 17-6 lead at halftime. Republic wasn’t able to climb back, scoring five points in both the third and fourth quarters.

Sophomore Tailyn Raisanen added five points for R-M while junior guard Marti Jahfetson led Baraga with 12 points.

Baraga also won the JV contest 32-7.

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Hancock 42, L’Anse 40

At L’Anse, the Purple Hornets cut into Hancock’s eight-point lead during the last three minutes but couldn’t quite catch the Bulldogs in this West PAC game.

Hancock made just 3 of 13 at the free throw line over the course of the game.

“As a team we need to find a way to finish games,” Hancock coach Jack Johnson said. “We led the entire way by as much as 14 points, but shot 1 of 7 from the free throw line in the last three minutes. Those types of mistakes we have to clean up to improve.”

For L’Anse, Kailyn Voskuhl scored 12 points and Maija Rice added 11. 

Hancock’s Taylor Sebbas had 20 points and 12 rebounds. 

Next up, L’Anse (4-5, 0-3) heads to Wakefield on Monday. 

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee and Journal Sports Writer Ryan Spitza with contributions from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette. Email Brownlee or Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.