Amber Huebner leads Marquette Senior High School girls basketball Redettes in stretch run past Escanaba, 51-46

Amber Huebner, left, of Marquette passes the ball around Escanaba defender Maddy Theut late in the game on Tuesday night at Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Dennis Grall)

ESCANABA — The Marquette Redettes are not accustomed to hanging on in the stretch run, but at least they have the ideal player to put the game out of reach when it does happen.

Amber Huebner handles the ball and hits the free throws to prevent any mishaps when the game does get close, and she did it well enough here Tuesday as the Redettes thwarted an Escanaba threat to win, 51-46.

With Huebner directing traffic, the Redettes basically kept Esky in check over the final seven minutes, just when they were starting to make it interesting in the Great Northern Conference girls basketball game.

“Amber is our primary ball handler. She did a good job using the clock,” MSHS coach Ben Smith said. “You can’t really practice those situations, but she did a pretty good job handling it and communicating with her teammates.”

The Redettes (13-1, 6-0) surprisingly let Esky get back into the game, after seemingly taking control by opening a 37-14 lead with 4:25 left in the first half. Esky, scoreless for 4:15 of the second quarter, turned the tables on Marquette by scoring the final eight points of that half and using a 14-1 burst to draw within 38-36 with 1:31 left in the third quarter.

“Maybe we let up our foot a bit there,” Huebner said of Escanaba’s comeback during the Marquette drought. “We weren’t scoring and we weren’t stopping them.”

Once Smith turned everything over to Huebner in the final period, the game turned back to the Redettes.

“I like handling the pressure,” said the third-year point guard who is headed to Northern Michigan University to play basketball next year. “I feel confident I can handle the ball and I also feel confident in my teammates.”

Chlaudia Hale hit a 3-point basket with 1:05 left in the third to put Marquette ahead 41-36, then after Jen Brandt converted inside for Esky 10 seconds later, Huebner hit a bucket from the left key with her right foot just inside the arc.

Esky was in a 2-3 zone to start the final quarter but the Redettes finally pulled them into man-to-man, which is Huebner’s time to shine as she directs everything.

“I’m not super thrilled it got there,” Smith said of letting Esky back into the game. “It was getting late and it was nice to see how the girls responded and reacted.”

Escanaba coach Mike Beveridge said “I think he (Smith) was a little worried” as the Eskymos mounted their late upset bid against the Upper Peninsula’s fourth-ranked Class A-B-C team.

“We just gave up too much in the first half,” Beveridge said, referring to a 10-0 Marquette burst to end the first quarter, with Huebner hitting consecutive three-point plays, for a 20-12 spread. Izabelle Peterson then drained consecutive triples to spark the Redettes’ 17-0 run to open the second quarter, and Stasha Warchock closed out that flurry with consecutive triples.

Huebner finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Peterson had four triples and 15 points.

Escanaba (8-6, 2-3) got 13 points and 14 rebounds from Brandt.

Marquette won the JV game 48-25.