Munising boys barrel out of the gates
Escanaba gets past Negaunee
MUNISING — Munising pushed a fast pace early on its way to a 53-33 boys basketball victory over visiting Gwinn in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday night.
Though the Modeltowners’ Tucker Taylor scored the game’s first basket, the Mustangs scored the remaining points of the first quarter to take a 17-2 lead entering the second period.
“I thought we set the tempo for the game in the first quarter,” Munising coach Terry Kienitz said. “We were able to work in transition and push the ball up the court to get some easy baskets.
“That and our defense was really good. We didn’t give them any open looks and had some turnovers early in the game.”
Gwinn coach Jim Finkbeiner concurred, reporting his team turned the ball over 13 times in the opening quarter and finished with 27 turnovers.
The Modeltowners played even with Munising in the second quarter, each team scoring 11 points to give Gwinn a 28-13 halftime advantage.
Taylor finished with nearly two-thirds of his team’s points, scoring 21 and grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds despite fouling out in the fourth quarter. No other Modeltowner had more than four points.
The Mustangs’ Jesse Matson led all scorers with 24 points, while teammate Alec Blank added 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Gwinn won the JV game 45-41.
Escanaba 60, Negaunee 45
At Negaunee, the Miners’ sizzling night at the free-throw line couldn’t make up for just as hot a game from the field for the visiting Eskymos.
Negaunee made 22 of 24 free throws, a 92 percent success rate, but Escanaba sank 27 of 44 from the field, 61 percent that were good.
“Some of it was growing pains,” Negaunee coach Dan Waterman said about a rebuilding program this season. “It’s first-game stuff after having to replace two really good players.”
He alluded to the now graduated Dre Tuominen and Trent Bell, both All-Upper Peninsula Dream Team and Class C all-staters last spring.
“Our good decision-makers are sophomores, so it’s a starting point for us in this first game,” Waterman said. “We played hard in spurts.”
Senior forward Luke Mattson led Miners scorers with 16 points, while sophomore guard Jason Waterman, a starter much of last year, had 12 points and a team-high five rebounds.
Escanaba countered with Ryan Robinette, who had a game-high 23 points.
“Robinette controlled the flow of the game,” Waterman said. “Give them credit. They’ve just had a short amount of practice after what their football team did (reach the playoff semifinals). Their zone (defense) was effective.”
The Eskymos’ Austin Willette added 11 points, while teammate Jared Nash had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Escanaba led 19-14 after one quarter, extending it to 30-23 by halftime and 46-31 after three quarters.
The Eskymos also won the JV game 67-35.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.