Turnovers turn tide

MARQUETTE – Turnovers mean everything in basketball and sometimes, the game can turn in the blink of an eye.

That was the case for the Marquette Senior High School girls on Tuesday night. The Redettes were down early in the third quarter, but forcing a number of turnovers helped ignite a 12-0 run. That run combined with some key free throws helped lift Marquette over Negaunee 45-35.

Marquette’s Lyndsey Ryba led all scorers with 19 points, while teammate Amber Huebner had 15.

“That was a close one,” Redettes head coach Ben Smith said. “They had a good little spurt to start the third quarter and then we weathered the storm for a little bit. We got them to turn the ball over a few times and we were able to get more easier buckets than we had before.

“The free throw line was huge. We were 27 of 33. We kind of rode that. A lot of them were at the end, but you still need to make them to seal the deal.”

This week, MSHS is ranked third and Negaunee fourth in the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Class A-B-C girls poll.

After the Miners hit three straight shots to open the second half, Marquette (17-2) used defensive pressure to force Negaunee into turnovers and ignite its own scoring surge.

Negaunee (14-5) cut its deficit to one after a layup by Hailey Fezatt and a jumper by Aleda Johnson late in the third quarter, but Ryba hit a trey and Huebner had a transition layup off a turnover to keep the Miners at bay.

“Lyndsey had a really good night,” Smith said. “I think the spark that she added defensively was good. She gave us another guard to chase around the Johnson girls (Aleda and Clara) along with (Courtney) Finnila and Fezatt. They all move pretty well, so we needed to make sure we had energy to chase them everywhere and she brought that.”

Finnila led Negaunee with 16 points, while Johnson and Fezatt both had 12.

“We just didn’t handle their pressure well,” Miners head coach Brandon Sager said. “We have to get better at that. We played well for five minutes in the third quarter and then we crumbled under their pressure.

“We’ve got to figure it out at some point. We review, we prepare for it, but we don’t play like we should. We have to get better at that.”

The first half was a tight affair. After Marquette’s Adriana Johnson knocked down a jumper, Finnila hit a trey to beat the first-quarter buzzer and Negaunee was down only 12-11.

In the second quarter, a 3-pointer by Huebner put the Redettes up by four points, but back-to-back layups by Fezatt tied the game 18-18. A free throw from Johnson gave Marquette a one-point advantage at halftime.

In the second half, a three-point play by Fezatt and a trey from Finnila gave the Miners a 26-19 lead. Marquette wasn’t deterred, though. The Redettes went on their big run moments later and used several free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory.

Marquette also won the JV game 63-56. On Thursday, the Redettes head to Menominee, while Negaunee hosts Ishpeming.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.