Negaunee, Munising, Manistique boys all earn wins
NEGAUNEE — Tuesday night was the season opener for several boys basketball teams around the Upper Peninsula and the Negaunee Miners got off to a fantastic start as they got a big night from senior Jason Waterman and took down Escanaba 52-43.
Waterman led all scorers with 26 points, while teammate Jakson Sager chipped in with 12. Peyton Fedell led Eskymos’ scorers with 15 points.
“It was a typical first game,” Negaunee head coach Dan Waterman said. “We did some things really well and then we did some things not so well.
“I couldn’t believe we turned the ball over like we did against their pressure, but I was proud of our guys for buckling down in the fourth quarter. It was a tight game going into the fourth and we outscored them 13-4 and did all the little things that good teams do.
“We were doing a better job of rebounding the ball and we stepped up. We were good on the free throw line and took care of the ball.
“We’re happy to get a win. That’s a good Escanaba team.”
Negaunee held a 14-9 lead after the first quarter and a slim 28-24 advantage at the half. However, the Eskymos came back to tie the game at 39-39 heading into the fourth, but the Miners regained control down the stretch.
“We just didn’t execute the last four minutes,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson told the Escanaba Daily Press. “We’re a young team and we learned a lot. We showed we can compete with the best in the U.P., and we learned from a very savvy team how to close out games.
“Negaunee has been in close games more than any team in the U.P. the last three years and I think that really showed….
“We didn’t do a lot of the little things and I felt Negaunee did a lot more of the little things.”
Munising 60, Gwinn 53
At Munising, the Mustangs used a good fourth quarter to defeat the Modeltowners. Austin Killips led the Mustangs with 23 points, while Gwinn’s James Harnick led all scorers with 27.
The game was tight all the way as the Mustangs led by three after the first quarter, but the Modeltowners grabbed a 29-28 lead at halftime. The teams were tied at 36-36 after the third quarter, but Munising pulled away in the fourth to win its season opener.
“It was a close game throughout and back and forth with the lead,” Gwinn head coach Jim Finkbeiner said. “I thought we played a solid game and a team game.
“Even thought James had 27 tonight, he wasn’t a one-man show. The other starters and a couple bench players made some great plays and executed our game plan and that allowed James to get some looks that he capitalized on.
“Our defense was solid. We held (Munising’s) Josh Huotari to five points and Killips really had to work hard for his points all night. A tough stretch midway through the third quarter (was when we) kind of lost our momentum and had a couple bad possessions that cost our lead and from the fourth quarter to the end, it was a two-point game until they made free throws to finish it.”
Gwinn won the JV game 38-32.
At Newberry, the Emeralds opened their season in exciting fashion.
Newberry had the ball in the closing moments of this nonconference contest, but missed a half-court shot at the buzzer.
“This feels really good,” coach Cody Kangas said after his first game as Emeralds’ mentor. “I think we played a pretty good offensive game.
“I think it also shows we need to play good defense. We’re the type of team that wants to play tough defense and keep the score low. We’re pretty athletic. We can push the ball up the floor, but we also don’t mind slowing it down.”
Manistique led 32-22 at halftime and 46-44 after the third quarter.
Mark Block led the Emeralds with 20 points. Schyler Andersen added 17 and Sam Warren had 11.
Logan Depew scored 21 and Luke Jordan hit 13 for the Indians.
“In the second quarter we played some pretty good team defense,” Kangas said. “I’m not happy with our third quarter, but I’m proud of our guys for finishing strong. I know Mark and Schyler have to carry the load on offense. Mark played a real good game. He’s a jack of all trades and it showed.”
The Emeralds, who dropped the JV game, visit Gladstone Friday. The Indians host St. Ignace Friday.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg with contributions from the Escanaba Daily Press. Email Stieg at firstname.lastname@example.org.