Too much Bartle: Negaunee Miners girls basketball team jumps out early and fends off Marquette Redettes, 59-45

Marquette’s Kayle Elmblad, center, passes the ball with Negaunee’s Clara Johnson, left, and Chloe Norman playing defense Monday evening at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

“We shared the ball better than we have been, which we’ve worked on the last couple days of practice.” — Brandon Sager, head coach, Negaunee girls basketball

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NEGAUNEE — The Negaunee and Marquette girls basketball teams had to wait more than a month to face each other, but the stage was finally set Monday night for a great showdown at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee.

In the end, the Miners were just too much for the Redettes to handle. Negaunee’s Natalie Bartle got hot early and Marquette didn’t have an answer for her as the Miners won 59-45.

Bartle led all scorers with 24 points, while Avery Ledy led the Redettes with 20.

Negaunee head coach Brandon Sager praised Bartle for finding the right opportunities to score and liked how his team worked as a team.

“At times, she tried to do a little too much early, but then she settled in and picked some of the right spots at pretty big moments,” he said. “It’s always good to take some of the pressure off Clara (Johnson), so she played a pretty good game. I think even defensively, she played really well.

“We stayed disciplined to what our game plan was and we shared the ball better than we have been, which we’ve worked on the last couple days in practice. So I was glad to see that.”

For Redettes head coach Ben Smith, the game came down to Marquette’s slow start and Negaunee’s hustle.

“We didn’t make enough plays early to kind of stay in it,” he said. “They finished plays and Bartle had a couple of nice runners. They finished plays at the rim and made five 3s and 14 free throws, so they kind of got after us from all different ways offensively.

“The thing is that they were the first to the ball, which that can’t happen. They beat us to the ball and at times when we got there, we mishandled it. Part of that is that they’re good and aggressive, and you’ve got to work hard to get open and we didn’t do that and get available.”

Bartle scored Negaunee’s first two baskets. Later in the opening quarter, MacKenzie Karki knocked down a trey and Allyson Jacobson added a putback to get the Miners a 16-8 lead after one.

Marquette got off to a decent start in the second quarter, getting triples from Ledy and Sydney Kivi, but a quick surge by the Miners, including back-to-back jumpers from Bartle, put Negaunee up by double digits. Bartle also hit a shot right before the buzzer to give the Miners a 31-18 advantage at the half.

The Redettes worked the ball inside better in the second half, but were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game and Bartle made that increasingly difficult. Bartle scored 10 points in the third quarter, including two treys, to help secure the lead.

Marquette hosts Escanaba tonight, while Negaunee will be at home against Gwinn on Thursday.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.