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Redmen lose for 1st time in a decade to Escanaba

Marquette's Justin Jurmu, top right, attempts to block a shot by Escanaba's Brandon Frazer, top left, during their Great Northern Conference boys basketball game played at the Eskymos' gym on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Austin Hemmingson)

ESCANABA — The Escanaba Eskymos boys basketball team did something for the first time in a decade at home on Tuesday night — defeat Great Northern Conference rival Marquette.

Behind a career night from junior point guard Brandon Frazer, the Upper Peninsula’s No. 4-ranked Eskymos did all the little things right and overcame adversity time after time to top the third-ranked Redmen 63-56.

Esky’s last win against the Redmen came in a 52-45 home victory on Jan. 22, 2010.

The Eskymos (4-4, 3-0 GNC) had to overcome adversity, fending off Marquette runs and playing a big chunk of the game without 6-foot-7 junior big man Carter Hudson, who picked up his third foul less than a minute into the second quarter.

The Redmen (4-2, 1-1 GNC) led 23-18 when Hudson exited the game, but Esky went on a 12-3 run to go into halftime leading 30-26.

“I thought basically the biggest story was overcoming adversity,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson said. “We got our big man in foul trouble and we went to a small lineup to try to match their quickness. I just felt like we had to go with that small lineup….

“Not only did we weather (the storm), but we actually took the lead. I thought at the end of the first half where we were playing some different combinations, we kind of overcame adversity and I told the kids in the huddle that if you want a chance to win a Great Northern (title), you have to overcome this adversity, and let’s do it.”

Esky faced adversity again after the Redmen began the second half on a 13-3 run to take a 39-33 lead about halfway through the third quarter. But the Eskymos overcame that once again, responding with their own 12-4 run to take a 45-43 lead into the fourth.

“That’s a credit to them,” Redmen coach Brad Nelson said. “We’d go on a run and have a little lead where you feel like you’re trying to get in a little comfort zone, and then (Peyton) Fedell would come down and nail a 3 or Frazer would come down and make a big shot. Credit to them to make those shots.

“I just thought we didn’t have enough in the tank and we made a few too many mistakes, but for them to answer any run … give them a lot of credit.”

After Esky scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take a nine-point lead, Marquette rattled off six straight to pull within 52-49 on a pair of free throws by John Thomson with 3:58 remaining.

The Eskymos then answered once more with a 7-2 run to gain a 59-51 cushion with just under two minutes left. Marquette had one last chance after pulling within 61-56 on a layup by Thomson with 21 seconds remaining, but Frazer sealed the game at the charity stripe.

“We wanted to take a step tonight toward trying to compete for a championship,” Coach Hudson said. “This was one of the big steps you have to make — you have to beat who you think is the favorite in your home gym. We know when we go up there it’s going to be an unbelievable war, just like it was here tonight.

“They’ve been kind of like the Kansas (Jayhawks) of the GNC, where they win it every year. I told my kids they were going to be harder than any team we faced…. We’re still learning, there’s a lot of things we can get better at, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Frazer led all scorers with a career-high 23 points. He also added eight rebounds, five steals and two assists.

“Coach Hudson came out with a good game plan — poise and determination,” Frazer said. “We wanted to take first in the GNC, so as a team we played better. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and Coach Hudson.”

Fedell added 15 points and four assists, while Hudson chipped in with 11 points, three rebounds and two blocks.

Ty Lotterman and Lincoln Sager led Marquette with 15 points each. Lotterman added seven rebounds and two steals, while Sager had nine rebounds, two assists and drilled five 3-pointers — three coming in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Kameron Karp added 10 points and seven assists, while Thomson had 10 points and three assists.

Esky shot 23 for 47 from the field, while the Redmen were 20 for 56. Marquette won the battle on the boards 33-21 but also committed 17 turnovers. Esky had just 10 miscues.

Esky also won the JV game 57-36 and freshmen game 37-30.

The Redmen visit Kingsford on Friday.