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Marquette boys basketball team forces fast tempo in 50-35 win at Kingsford

Marquette’s Kameron Karp, top center, flips a pass past Kingsford’s Brody Kopp, mostly hidden below Karp, to teammate Jordan DeMay, left, at the Flivvers' gym on Friday. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Matt McCarthy)

KINGSFORD — Speed and athleticism, Marquette had plenty of it Friday night as the Redmen defeated Kingsford, 50-35, in a Great Northern Conference boys basketball game played at the Kingsford Middle School gymnasium.

The game pitted two teams ranked in top five of the first Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association basketball poll released on Tuesday. Marquette came in at No. 3 and Kingsford in a tie for No. 4 with undefeated Bark River-Harris.

Ty Lotterman led all scorers with 21 points for Marquette, with Cole Bracket pacing Kingsford with 12 points.

“Lotterman is a great post player, he gave us a tough matchup,” Kingsford head coach Dan Olkkonen said. “Their guards are quick and the game was faster paced than I’d have hoped for.”

Both teams got off to slow starts, with the Flivvers turning the ball over multiple times. Early in the first quarter, Kingsford sophomore point guard Nick Nora sprained his ankle, right at the feet of Coach Olkkonen in front of the Flivvers bench.

Marquette's Kam Karp looks to make a pass in the first quarter against the Gladstone Braves in their high school basketball game held at the Barb Crill Gymnasium in Marquette on Feb. 20. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Nora, who is a cog in the Flivvers’ fast-paced, up-tempo offense, never returned.

Marquette began using a three-quarters-court press. With Kameron Karp and Lincoln Sager putting strong pressure on the ball, it was quite disruptive to the Flivvers as they continued turning the ball over.

“I think Kam (Karp) is the best player I have ever seen in the open court, so we wanted to push the tempo and get a lead,” Marquette head coach Brad Nelson said. “Once their point guard (Nora) went down, we knew their offense would slow down, so getting a cushion was a key for us. He changes their whole offense, and you hate to see that happen.”

Marquette went on 14-4 run in the first three minutes of the second quarter.

The visiting team continued to use its quick ball movement and speed throughout the quarter to build a 13-point halftime lead, 30-17.

In the second half, it was much of the same for Marquette — steady defense and fast-paced offensive sets. Despite that, Nelson wasn’t happy with his team in certain aspects.

He added that this season is different than any other he’s coached because of the compressed schedule.

“I don’t want to work the boys too hard, and I make sure I remind myself of that,” he said. “But if we play like we did tonight in our (MHSAA) Division 1 district (tournament), we don’t stand a chance.”

After Marquette won the freshmen contest 58-28, the Kingsford JV avoided a three-game sweep by winning 30-28.

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