Big 2nd quarter: Negaunee girls basketball team overcomes slow start for 54-23 win at Gwinn

Negaunee’s Ally Jacobson, left, sets for a shot with Gwinn’s Taylor Ehnis defending Thursday night at Gwinn High School. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

“Our defense got us rolling and we started to separate from (Gwinn).” — Brandon Sager, head coach, Negaunee girls basketball

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GWINN — It took the Negaunee Miners a little while to get going Thursday night, but once they did, they couldn’t be stopped.

Holding a slim three-point lead after the opening frame, Negaunee outscored Gwinn 18-2 in the second quarter and rolled to a 54-23 high school girls basketball victory.

Clara Johnson led the Miners (6-3) with 12 points, while Hailey Fezatt had 11. Trisha McGuire and Taylor Ehnis both had eight points for the Modeltowners.

“We started out a little flat,” Miners head coach Brandon Sager said. “I don’t know if it’s just been a long week, or because we’ve got some girls who are sick. We missed a lot of layups and we were forcing shots and not being patient offensively. After a while, our defense got us rolling and we started to separate from them.

“I told them in the locker room that they need to decide whether we’re going to win or lose this game. We came out strong again and had a great third quarter.

“We’re starting to get where we want to be. The girls are playing well and the camaraderie is good, so we’re moving in the right direction.”

Even though the result wasn’t what he wanted, Gwinn head coach Ben Olsen was proud of his team’s effort.

“I thought we competed well in a 31-point game,” he said. “It is what it is and I keep telling the girls to believe. This is only our second game where we have everybody here and the girls gave a good effort.

“I know the scoreboard doesn’t necessarily show it, but we definitely battled. Negaunee is a senior-laden team and they know how to win.

“We’re going to take some lumps this year, but in the second half of the year, I think we’re going to be more competitive.”

Up by double-digits in the second quarter, Negaunee closed it out with a three-point play by Johnson and a putback by Madysen Kontio to take a 28-9 lead into the break.

The Miners continued to cruise, closing out the third quarter by scoring the final 11 points that carried into the fourth to become a 19-0 run. The surge was highlighted by three treys from Johnson, Fezatt and Aleda Johnson.

Gwinn didn’t quit, though. In the fourth quarter, the Modeltowners got a steal and layup from McGuire as well as a 3-pointer, and Kia Evans hit a jumper late to help make the final score respectable.

Gwinn hosts Norway on Tuesday, while Negaunee doesn’t play until next Friday when it takes on Westwood.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.