Raffy Millado finds touch to lead Marquette Redmen to Class A district tournament opening win

Marquette’s Treylon McFerrin drives to the basket between Alpena defenders Aidan Goike, left, and Colin Donajkowski during a Class A district boys basketball game played in Gaylord on Monday. (Alpena News photo by James Andersen)

GAYLORD — Raffy Millado found his shooting stroke at the right time.

Millado scored 20 points and sparked the Marquette Senior High School boys basketball team as the Redmen defeated Alpena 64-57 in a Class A district quarterfinal in Gaylord on Monday night.

The talented junior knocked down key treys early and was a force all night on the boards. It was precisely the kind of performance the Redmen were hoping to see from him now that the postseason has begun.

“In the first quarter (with) our perimeter shooting, Raffy Millado hit those 3s,” Marquette coach Brad Nelson said. “He’s struggled shooting the ball recently and to see him shoot with confidence is huge for us going forward.”

Though the final margin was just seven points, Alpena (9-11) couldn’t find consistency on offense and struggled on defense to stop Marquette’s inside presence and multitude of shooters.

The Wildcats cut Marquette’s lead to single digits several times, but the extended offensive run that Alpena was hoping for never materialized and the Redmen had an answer for everything Alpena did.

Aidan Goike led Alpena with 17 points and drained a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to cut Marquette’s lead to nine, but Alpena ran out of time to pull any closer.

Ten of Goike’s points came in the final two minutes, but Alpena’s earlier offensive struggles were too much to overcome. The Wildcats missed more than a handful of open looks and easy shots close to the basket and struggled to keep up with Marquette on the boards.

The Redmen did a little bit of everything on the offensive end, draining triples early, dishing the ball inside to its forwards and putting together small runs whenever Alpena got within single digits.

The Redmen got a balanced scoring effort as Millado led Marquette with 20 points, 6-foot-10 big man Marius Grazulis added 17 points and forward Treylon McFerrin scored 16.

“They have a highly skilled team. They have shooters, they have ball handlers, they have the big kid inside,” Alpena coach John Pintar said. “They’re tough to defend. I thought our kids battled, but we struggled on the offensive end a lot. Then you’re forced to scramble late and that’s the wrong team to try and do that against.”

Alpena trailed by eight, 40-32, after three quarters, but Marquette responded with a 7-0 run to open the final quarter, upping its lead to 15. The Wildcats cut it to 11 with just over six minutes left, but continued to struggle at the basket. Too often attempted layups and putbacks rolled around the rim and were scooped up by Marquette to be sent back the other way.

Marquette led 26-18 at halftime, but a basket from Colin Donajkowski and a free throw from Bruz Copping pulled Alpena to within seven with seven minutes left. Alpena cut the lead to seven again with 3:20 left, but again the Redmen had an answer and scored five points to go back up by double digits.

“I thought in the second half my guys kind of figured out what it takes to play at this level against a good Alpena team,” Nelson said. “We were able to get a comfortable lead, but give Alpena a ton of credit for sticking with it.”

Chris DeRocher added 16 points for Alpena and Copping finished with eight.

Timely 3-point shooting put Marquette out in front 13-6 after one quarter and despite getting as close as four points in the second quarter, Alpena couldn’t challenge.