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Redettes’ shut-down defense leads to win

Marquette’s Chlaudia Hale, right, drives past Kingsford’s Hannah Carlson, second from left, and Abby Tomasoski, second from right, for a layup on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Kingsford. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Burt Angeli)

KINGSFORD — Marquette shut down Kingsford for the final six minutes and emerged with a 43-31 Great Northern Conference girls basketball victory on Monday.

The Flivvers (6-2, 1-1) closed to 35-29 with 6:31 left. But the Redettes (9-1, 2-0) halted the comeback by allowing just two points the rest of the way.

“I thought we competed hard,” Marquette coach Ben Smith said. “Any time we come here nothing comes easy. They battle us all over the place.

“They spread you out and make sure you make good reads and good decisions every time.”

The Flivvers trailed by 11 points in the second quarter but rallied to pull within 26-19 at halftime. The Redettes carried a 33-25 advantage into the fourth.

“With Marquette it’s going to be a battle,” Kingsford coach Mike Cross said. “You have to be on your ‘A’ game.”

Kelsey Grange led the Redettes with 11 points. Amber Huebner added nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Huebner and the Flivvers’ Jordyn Kriegl, a pair of All-GNC first-teamers from a year ago, waged an entertaining one-on-one test in the first half. The matchup rarely materialized in the second half.

“The best part about both of them is they’re unselfish and they help your teams win,” Smith said. “They could never shoot the ball and they’re going to put a pretty good stamp on any game.”

Huebner, defended by Bri Robinson, was checked to two points in the second half.

Hannah Carlson led the Flivvers with nine points and Renee Roberts added eight. Roberts had Kingsford’s only points (four) over the last six minutes.

“They had five or six (layups) off real good penetration by sinking into openings and finishing plays,” Smith said of Kingsford’s first half. “We have to make them shoot over us instead of letting them get in there and finish plays at the rim.

“Roberts made some real good plays for them. She had excellent spin moves and finishes.”

Although Kingsford struggled offensively, rebounding was another problem.

“That’s really where the game was at,” Cross said of rebounding. “As poorly as we shot at times, for the most part we were still in the game if we don’t give up the offensive boards and putbacks. That’s the part we didn’t get done.”

Marquette scored twice on fourth-quarter putbacks from Huebner and Grange.

Smith noted that Bridget Pliska scored all nine of her points in the first half.

“That is a big contribution,” Smith said. “We had kids come in and make plays.”

He also cited center Sarah Iwanicki for a “great job.” She had four points and six rebounds.

“We can always count on her to bring effort,” Smith said. “You have to have the trust in your teammates that they’re going to try hard all the time and we never have to doubt Sara. She always busts it and makes plays for us.”

Marquette, which visits Escanaba tonight, also won the JV game 56-43.