Quick start propels Negaunee girls to win

By STEPHEN OMAN

Marinette, Wis., EagleHerald

MENOMINEE — The Negaunee girls basketball team started fast and Menominee couldn’t mount an effective comeback on Friday night.

The Miners jumped out to an 18-6 lead after one quarter in their 56-29 win thanks in part to several steals that led to easy layups.

“That was our plan coming in,” Negaunee coach Brandon Sager said. “Start fast and try to use our defense to create some offense, and it worked.

“Everybody came out with a lot of energy. After the last two days of practice I wasn’t sure that was going to happen,” Sager added with a laugh.

Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard said Negaunee’s defense forced the Maroons into some errors.

“We had some early turnover trouble,” he said. “We knew coming in they were a great team and would put pressure on us.

“We got better with the pressure as the game went on.”

Menominee’s offense continued to struggle in the second quarter as the Miners led 34-11 at the half.

“We came out ready to go. (Menominee’s) 1-3-1 (defense) threw us off a little bit, but we were able to recover and get some decent shots,” Sager said.

Negaunee’s Natalie Bartle scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the first half.

“Defensively we lacked aggression in the first half,” Chouinard said. “In the second half we came around.

“(Bartle) is a great player, and we knew that coming in. When you have a dynamic player like that it makes the entire team better.”

Menominee’s defense picked up in the third quarter, allowing just seven points, but Negaunee still held a 41-23 advantage going into the fourth.

The Miners didn’t let it get any closer than that.

Negaunee crashed the boards and gave themselves a lot of second-chance looks.

Sager was happy his team was able to keep the Maroons under 30 points.

“I thought (the defense) was pretty good,” he said. “We rebounded well with the size they have. We did a lot of little things that we had to do.”

Erin Barrette led Menominee with 11 points.

Abby Nelson added nine points and Payton Drew added eight for the Miners.

Menominee won the JV game 33-28.

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