Shutdown defense

Patriots clamp down in win over Menominee

EagleHerald/Stephen Oman Westwood's Marissa Carello, second from left, reaches in to take the ball from Menominee's Sarah Barrette in a high school girls baskestball game played Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Menominee. (Marinette, Wis., EagleHerald photo by Stephen Oman)

MENOMINEE — The Menominee girls basketball team dropped a defensive battle 44-30 in its home opener against the Westwood Patriots on Tuesday.

The Maroons scored the game’s first five points, but Westwood went on a run and led 28-9 at one point in the second quarter.

“I thought Menominee came out strong with a 5-0 lead, and it was a little bit of a shellshock at first,” Westwood coach Kurt Corcoran said. “But we responded by not panicking.”

The Patriots’ Tessa Leece and Madelyn Koski combined to make four 3-pointers in the first half.

“The first half, we didn’t play well defensively,” Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard said. “I thought in the second half we rebounded and did a better job knowing where (Leece and Koski) were.”

Leece led all scorers with 15 points, while Koski had 12.

In all, Westwood made five first-half 3s.

“We’ve got good shooters on this team, and it was refreshing to see after our performance last week,” Corcoran said about a 45-40 home loss to Kingsford. “We shot 22 percent on the night (last week) and it’s frustrating as a coach when you know you’re a better shooting team.”

The Patriots got out in transition more than Menominee early in the game.

Menominee’s Erin Barrette and Emma Anderson led a charge just before the half to pull the Maroons within 31-16 at the break. Barrett and Anderson combined for all nine of Menominee’s second-quarter points.

“I think going to a press really helped our intensity at the end of the first half,” Chouinard said.

Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter, with the Patriots winning the quarter 7-5 to take a 38-21 lead into the fourth.

“We’ve got a couple really good leaders on this team who do a great job of barking out orders to their teammates, and before you know it, you’ve got five girls out there all talking to each other,” Corcoran said. “When that happens, we become real fluid and it can be intimidating to the other team.”

Corcoran liked the way his team played defensively.

“We’re a real strong defensive team, it’s just a matter of putting a full game together,” he said. “Our goal is 40 points, so if you can hold a team to 30, that’s means we’re doing something right.”

Anderson had 11 points to lead Menominee.