Nelson leads Miners to win

Marquette’s Avery Ledy is fouled by Negaunee’s MacKenzie Karki as she goes up for a jump shot in the fourth quarter. (Photo courtesy of Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — Senior forward Abigail Nelson put up 19 points and made sure rival Marquette wasn’t going anywhere with a lead, hitting a critical 3-pointer late in the third to lead the Negaunee High School girls varsity basketball team passed the Redettes 56-51 at the newly-dedicated MSHS Barb Crill Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

The Miners are now 3-0 on the season while the Redettes dropped to 2-2.

Negaunee head coach Brandon Sager said everyone contributed in the tight victory, with just six points being the largest lead of the entire game.

“Our girls ground it out, Marquette took a little lead later in the game but our defense stuck together and we weren’t going to quit until that final buzzer,” he said. “It was a good test for our girls. We followed our game plan and it was a great team win, it took everybody on the floor to win that one.”

Sager also credited Nelson, who hit a game-tying triple in the third to keep Marquette within striking distance.

Marquette’s Aspen Michelin gets a clean block on Negaunee’s Hannah Voskuhl in the first quarter. (Photo courtesy of Daryl T. Jarvinen)

“She always shoots well in here and she’s comfortable,” he said. “That was a huge shot that tied the game back up, and she played solid on both ends of the floor.”

MSHS head coach Ben Smith said his team started out slow and could never pull away from the Miners with the short lead they had.

“I don’t know if we played a little nervous, anxious or what the word is, but we kind of settled in a little bit, kept battling back and then just couldn’t make enough plays to stay over the hump,” he said. “We weren’t getting stops and were giving up things that were too easy. We would play really solid defense for a possession or two, and then we would get hung up on a screen and give up an open clean shot.”

Smith added that his team wasn’t getting the ball in the hands of its top players early enough, senior forwards Avery Ledy and Sydney Kivi, who combined for 39 points.

“They battled hard and they typically have a chance to create some advantages in some spots,” he said. “I don’t think we got it to them often enough early, but as the game went on, they put their stamp on it more and more and kind of kept us in there.”

Negaunee’s Payton Drew has to wait patiently for a shot to open up as Marquette’s Avery Ledy puts up a wall in the second quarter Tuesday at the newly dedicated Barb Crill Gymnasium at Marquette Senior High School. (Photo courtesy of Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Negaunee senior guard Hannah Voskuhl got the scoring started 1:35 into the game on a layup to make it 2-0 before the Redettes tied things up on a layup of their own from Ledy. The teams traded buckets again and Negaunee held the lead for the entire first half after that, holding a 9-6 edge after one.

The Miners stared the second quarter on a basket from junior guard Emily Paupore and eventually went up 13-7 early in the quarter.

Marquette kept things close, pulling within 13-10 after Ledy hit a triple from the top-left of the arc.

A few possessions later, the Redettes cut the lead to one at 17-16 on a layup from Ledy to make it 17-16 before Nelson hit a 3-pointer from the top to but Negaunee up 20-16.

The Redettes received two free throws from senior forward Rachael Hunt just before the end of the quarter to make it a 2-point game at halftime, 20-18.

Nelson and junior guard Chloe Norman led the Miners with five points apiece at halftime. Ledy led Marquette with 11.

The Redettes quickly got their first lead of the night at the beginning of the third on consecutive layups from Kivi to inch ahead 22-20. Negaunee managed to tie things up three straight times after that, making it a 26-26 game before a bucket from senior forward Payton Drew put the Miners back in the lead.

After that, Ledy hit a corner triple to put the Redettes back on top 29-28, and hit a 2-point basket after that for a 3-point Marquette advantage.

That’s when Nelson hit her triple to keep Marquette at bay, however the Redettes had one more basket from junior center Madison Carter and a free throw from Kivi before the end of the frame to put MSHS up 34-31 after three.

After a Miners free throw from Drew to start the fourth and a basket to tie things up at 34, Negaunee took the lead back once again on a 3-pointer from senior guard MacKenzie Karki.

Norman made a layup with a foul after that, sinking the free throw and making the score 40-34 in favor of the Miners.

Negaunee never lost the lead again, but Marquette pulled within two points at 49-47 with 2:21 left to play.

After a missed three from MSHS senior guard Sophie Bartlett which would have made the score 51-51, the Redettes were forced to foul for the remaining time. Negaunee was able to ice the game at the free throw line from there.

Negaunee shot 19 of 47 from the field and 13 of 15 from the charity stripe, while Marquette was 17 of 43 shooting and 13 of 19 from the free throw line.

Norman and Karki added 10 points each for the Miners while Drew chipped in with seven. Ledy led the Redettes with 21 while Kivi had 18.

Negaunee goes to Hancock on Friday while Marquette travels to Traverse City to face Traverse City Central on Friday and Traverse City West on Saturday.

Marquette won the JV game 37-29.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.