GLADSTONE - The Gladstone Braves frustrated Marquette for long stretches with tenacious defense Tuesday evening in the Great Northern Conference opener for both girls basketball teams.
But chalk it up to experience. The Redettes had considerably more and it showed at key times down the stretch in their 45-37 victory.
The Redettes led from late in the first quarter until the end, but it wasn't easy.
Marquette’s Morgan Seibert looks for an open teammate as Jessica Beaudry (32) of Gladstone defends Tuesday night at Gladstone. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Paul Gerard)
Each time Marquette got a little breathing room, inching ahead by five or six points, the Braves went on mini-runs to tie the game up. However, they never overtook Marquette's lead.
"We were in a similar situation last Friday (at the St. Ignace Invitational). We never had a six point lead, but we had a two point lead and needed to handle it better," Marquette coach Ben Smith said.
"Having that experience under our belts is enough to make you relax and handle it. Ball fakes, being strong with the ball, and the last resort is throwing it.
"I think Liana (Storm) did a good job slowing things down for everybody," he added. "We had some timeouts too, which was nice, because we could get things settled."
The Braves (1-2 overall, 0-1 GNC) were torched in the first half for 14 points by Marquette's Hunter Viitala and the Redettes led 20-17 going into halftime.
Viitala had a game-high 19 points, including three triples, and was the go-to player when the Redettes (1-2, 1-0) needed a big play.
Elizabeth Kurin added 12 points with eight rebounds, five steals and two blocks for the Redettes. Morgan Seibert had nine rebounds and Storm dished out six assists.
Gladstone's offense was scattered and far more sporadic. Marquette shut down Alexis St. Cyr, the Braves' scoring leader through the first two games, holding her to two points.
Callie Jensen stepped up and took the open shots presented to her, coming away with a team-high 11 points and three steals.
Smith said he wasn't singularly focused on stopping St. Cyr, but rather focused on controlling the game from the boards.
"We kind of knew Gladstone's tendencies, but we knew whoever was open would try to score," Smith said. "St. Cyr had 11 points in the first quarter against Gwinn, so you obviously have to find her, but you also have to find Beaudry and (Lexi) Hongisto.
"I thought we did a pretty good job. A few times we got a little lax, but Gladstone plays so hard, if you fall asleep once, they're going to smash after it."
The Redettes were without Courtney LaFreniere, as they have been all season as she recovers from a torn ACL suffered in June.
Despite the Braves' offensive struggles, they were able to stay in the game until the end, pulling within 32-30 entering the fourth quarter.
Marquette, however, gained a nine-point advantage by hitting its free throws down the stretch.
The Marquette jayvees rolled, 71-36.