Natalie Bartle still a star: Neguanee Miners’ All-Upper Peninsula Dream Teamer wins MVP at girls’ Border Bash

Negaunee’s Natalie Bartle, left, of the Northern Michigan girls team tries to shoot around Flambeau’s Morgan Ludescher during Wednesday’s Kiwanis Classic Border Bash at the Lindquist Center in Ironwood. Bartle was named most valuable player with a game-high 28 points in her team's 77-73 victory over Northern Wisconsin. (Ironwood Daily Globe photo by Jason Juno)

IRONWOOD — When Northern Michigan coach Kari Jacquart got to practice a half hour early on Wednesday, Negaunee’s Natalie Bartle was already there shooting.

And by the end of Wednesday’s Kiwanis Classic Border Bash, Bartle had the Most Valuable Player trophy in her hands.

She scored 28 points to lead Northern Michigan to a 101-87 victory over Northern Wisconsin.

Bartle made a pair of 3-pointers and pulled downed eight rebounds while playing 30 minutes. And she also won the girls 3-point contest held in conjunction with the game.

“She just was a tireless worker when she went in, she was just determined,” said Jacquart, the coach at Ironwood. “Her offense in the first half spurred everything and it got some good things going for us inside. She’s a great all-around player. She definitely deserved the MVP in my opinion.”

There were a lot of good players here.

St. Ignace’s Linnie Gustafson, named Miss Upper Peninsula Basketball in the spring and who will play at Northwood, had 13 points and 14 rebounds for Northern Michigan.

Milly Allen, point guard for state runner-up Chassell and the Class D Player of the Year in the U.P., had 12 points. Her Chassell teammate, Sydney Danison, had seven points and 12 rebounds. Houghton’s Kara Pietila had 12 points.

Four members of the all-class U.P. Dream Team played — Bartle, Gustafson, Allen, and Ishpeming’s Madigan Johns, who finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes.

Northern Wisconsin’s Jordan Ludescher of Flambeau led her team with 22 points. She’s going to play at Michigan Tech next season after being all-state her senior year at Flambeau. Heather Pearson of Amherst scored 16.

Jacquart enjoyed coaching one of her players, Taylor Mylly, one last time. Mylly had nine points.

The whole team “had great attitudes and they worked hard,” Jacquart said. “It was definitely an honor to coach them. There was definitely some great talent on both teams.”

Northern Michigan held a slim 51-49 lead at the half and outscored Northern Wisconsin 50-38 in the second half. Bartle had 18 of her 28 points after halftime.

The game was 52 minutes long, four minutes longer than Wednesday night’s NBA Finals contest, so Northern Michigan had to outlast Wisconsin.

“It’s a long game, I think one of the keys is which team at this point is in better shape. That’s why I kept continuously subbing instead of doing 5 and 5,” Jacquart said. “I think some of our girls being in really good shape helped towards the end, too, because the other team had an awful lot of height.”