Negaunee’s high-octane attack quickly wears down weary Eskymos

Negaunee’s Natalie Bartle, right, dribbles toward the lane as Escanaba’s Taylor Gauthier applies defensive pressure in a high school girls basketball game played Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, at Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Mike Mattson)

ESCANABA — The Escanaba girls basketball team may have been running on empty Tuesday night against Negaunee.

The host Eskymos — playing their third game in four days — started fast but finished on fumes in a 62-41 nonconference loss to unbeaten Negaunee.

“We did get off to a good start,” Esky coach Mike Beveridge said. “We had good pressure ‘D’ and we were playing the game we wanted to play pushing the ball.

“I really believe the girls ran out of gas. Lexi (Chaillier) got off to a good start. Offensively, we were looking good, but when the legs get tired, and you start running out of gas, you have turnovers and the defense gets sloppy.”

Esky (2-1) has yet to play Marquette on Thursday night.

Negaunee displayed its high-octane attack with speed, defense and perimeter and post play.

Natalie Bartle led the way with 27 points, six rebounds and eight steals. The do-everything guard has committed to NCAA Division II Colorado Mesa University.

“Natalie was with these girls until seventh grade, she moved away and moved back for her senior year,” Negaunee coach Brandon Sager said. “She is a special player. She anticipates the game so well.”

Esky started fast with Chaillier scoring her team’s first nine points. The Eskymos had a 15-4 early lead and still were up 15-10 after one quarter.

But the Miners, who shot 4 of 18 in the first quarter, turned up their pressure defense in the second period and made 11 of 18 shots, including four 3-pointers.

Just like that Negaunee led 37-25 at halftime and cruised to its third straight victory.

“Thats what we’ve done all season, even though it’s been a short season,” Sager said. “Our defense has created our offense. We changed our lineup a little bit tonight and we brought Ielee Shiroda in and she was a spark plug in the second quarter. We’ve been struggling in our half-court sets, so if we can get out and run, it’s in our favor.”

Guard Clara Johnson had 11 points, MacKenzie Karki came off the bench to score 11 points and Abby Nelson grabbed seven rebounds for the Miners, who shot 41 percent from the field and outrebounded the Eskymos 36-20.

“I told the girls nothing is going to be easy tonight,” Sager said. “They battled with us. it was a good road win for us.”

Chaillier finished with a team-high 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists before fouling out.

Negaunee, which hosts Houghton Friday, also won the JV game 54-23.