3-year streak snapped

Redettes pull out 51-50 win to end 5-game skid to Negaunee

NEGAUNEE — The Marquette Senior High School girls varsity basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak to rival Negaunee on Tuesday night.

With the Redettes’ last win in the “neighborhood” series dating back nearly three years — 1,092 days to be exact — to Feb. 23, 2016, the Redettes ended it with a narrow 51-50 victory at Lakeview Memorial Gym in Negaunee.

Marquette, the No. 3 Divisions 1-3 team in the Upper Peninsula, improved to 15-3 on the season while No. 4 Negaunee dropped consecutive games for the first time this season, falling to 13-4.

After the Redettes took a 30-18 lead into halftime behind a 15-point first half from senior forward Sydney Kivi, Negaunee climbed right back into the mix to start the third. Freshman center Alyssa Hill scored nine of the Miners’ first 11 points in the quarter as NHS pulled within four points, 33-29.

The Miners’ quick turnaround came as no surprise to MSHS head coach Ben Smith, who expected no less from their always challenging rival.

“We kind of let (Negaunee) get loose and a little comfortable there in the third,” he said. “They scored almost as many points in that one quarter as they did in the entire first half, which you obviously don’t want to have happen.

“They have a lot of different options and a lot of different buttons to push. They had kids come in and make some good plays.

“If we weren’t ready for them to battle back and fight through, than we don’t really pay attention too much. I think the girls were ready for that run.”

Smith also credited Kivi for getting things going early on.

“Syd did a great job setting the tone for us in the first half,” the coach said. “Finishing plays in the post, and a lot of the time it’s not even finishing plays, it’s just getting post touches and making your offense run through there so you can get other people open in spots to try and finish plays. That was a great way to start.”

Despite the final score showing a one-point game, the Miners had just one lead all night at 2-0.

Negaunee cut its disadvantage to one point with 4:35 remaining in the fourth when senior guard Hannah Voskuhl hit two free throws after a foul by Marquette senior guard Sophie Bartlett.

It took nearly 2 1/2 minutes for another basket to be scored, however. When Kivi notched a 2-point jumper with 2:13 to play, MSHS’ lead was back to three.

After Negaunee senior forward Abby Nelson picked up her own rebound for a bucket to make it 50-48 with 6.5 seconds left, the Miners quickly fouled, sending MSHS junior guard Aspen Michelin to the line.

Michelin made 1 of 2 to give the Redettes a three-point edge with 5.5 seconds left as Negaunee called timeout to set up for a final shot.

Voskuhl took the ball down the floor, and not fully aware of the three-point deficit, went for a quick layup as the buzzer sounded.

Negaunee head coach Brandon Sager didn’t fault Voskuhl, saying the Marquette defense forced his team into a bit of confusion.

“We drew up a play and expected (Marquette) to maybe give us some light pressure,” he said. “They kind of dropped back and protected the 3-point line. From there, we kind of got in a situation of ‘That wasn’t what I drew’ or ‘What do we do?’ and I think Hannah just lost track that we needed a 3. I don’t know what else to say about it.”

Despite the mishap, Voskuhl finished with 11 points, two rebounds and four steals.

Sager also credited Hill for helping Negaunee climb back into the game almost immediately in the third.

“She’s had that energy all year,” he said. “It was her making that decision that ‘I’m going to take over, I’m going to make some post moves.’

“I think that whole momentum switch happened with our pressure as well. The girls really competed. In the first half we kind of let (Marquette) get their spots, beat us and get position. We were really flat and weren’t competing in the first half.

“The pressure definitely helped ramp things up and we got some easy buckets out of it. It was a one-point game that could have went either way.”

For the Miners, Hill finished with 13 points, while Nelson added 11 and senior guard MacKenzie Karki nine.

Kivi totaled 21 points for the Redettes, while senior forward Avery Ledy scored 13 points and grabbed 15 of Marquette’s 28 rebounds.

Negaunee, which was 19 of 48 from the field, collected 19 rebounds with Karki and Nelson getting four each.

Marquette, which was 20 of 38 from the field, hosts Menominee (11-7) on Thursday, while the Miners entertain Gwinn (11-6) on Saturday.

Marquette also won the JV game 51-29.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.