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Carney-Nadeau girls basketball team tops Rudyard 62-52 in MHSAA Division 4 quarterfinals to stay undefeated

Carney-Nadeau's Haley Ernest, center, puts up a layup as Rudyard's Laine Grenfell, left, and Chesney Molina defend during the second quarter of an MHSAA Division 4 girls basketball quarterfinal game on Monday at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

NEGAUNEE — Survive and advance is the name of the game at this point in the high school basketball season and that’s exactly what the Carney-Nadeau girls team did Monday night.

The undefeated Wolves were in a dogfight with Rudyard through three quarters, but closed the fourth quarter on a 15-0 run to escape with a 62-52 victory and move on to the MHSAA Division 4 semifinals to face the winner of Martin and Fowler on Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

C-N head coach Ken Linder beamed through his mask after the game and was proud of how his team stepped up late with post player Tessa Wagner battling foul trouble.

“I can’t even describe it,” he said. “It’s just pure joy. Down late in the game, we couldn’t buy a shot and then Shae (Linder) hit that layup and I think we scored on every possession after that. I’m so proud of the way they dug in and pulled out this win.”

Taylor Kedsch led the Wolves with 22 points, while Wagner had 18. Chesney Molina was the Bulldogs’ offensive leader with 16 points, while Brooklynn Besteman finished with 15.

Rudyard's Brooklynn Besteman, center, looks for a teammate to pass to as Carney-Nadeau's Tessa Wagner, left center, rushes over to cut off her path and Haley Ernest looks on during the third quarter of an MHSAA Division 4 girls basketball quarterfinal game on Monday at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

Down 13-7 in the first quarter, C-N fought back with an 11-0 surge to take the lead and held a 20-16 advantage going into the second. Rudyard cut its deficit to two at 25-23 thanks to a Tristin Smith layup, but the Wolves answered with a Wagner layup. Later, buckets from Haley Ernest and Kedsch helped put C-N up 35-28 at the half.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t turn tail, though. A putback by Besteman got them within three at 42-39 and after an Ernest layup, Besteman knocked down a triple. With time running out, Smith hit a runner to beat the buzzer and tie the game at 44-44 heading into the third. Rudyard appeared to be on the right path as Besteman hit a trey and Molina forced a steal and dropped in a layup to make it 52-47 Bulldogs.

However, that’s when things turned. Rudyard couldn’t get any more shots to fall and the Wolves were off and running with Linder starting the surge with a layup followed by a Kedsch trey to tie it at 52-52 and then Linder sank another layup to give C-N the lead.

The Wolves never looked back.

When asked what this victory meant to his community, Coach Linder said it meant a lot.

Rudyard's Megan Bradley, front left, tries to pass the ball to teammate Tristin Smith, right, as Carney-Nadeau's Shae Linder, second from right, tries to defend during the second quarter of an MHSAA Division 4 girls basketball quarterfinal game on Monday at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

“We’ve got a great community,” he said. “They really support our basketball program, financially, donations. I mean, people really step up for girls basketball in Carney, Michigan.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal. net.

Carney-Nadeau's Chloe Grand, left, tries to set up a play as Rudyard's Karlee Mayer closes in during the fourth quarter of an MHSAA Division 4 girls basketball quarterfinal game on Monday at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

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