Free-way to success: Marquette Redettes visit free throw line often in 51-36 win over Escanaba to open season

Marquette’s Julia Ott, left, drives around Escanaba’s Saylor Henderson during their high school girls basketball season-opening game on Tuesday in Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

“It’s one thing to get to the line, but you have to cash in. I thought our girls did a pretty good job with that.” — Ben Smith, Marquette girls basketball head coach, on the Redettes making 23 of 32 free throws in a win at Escanaba


ESCANABA — The Marquette girls basketball team was a frequent visitor to the free throw line on Tuesday night as the Redettes downed Escanaba 51-36 in both teams’ season opener.

Marquette sank 23 of 32 free throws in this physical Great Northern Conference matchup, including 12 of 16 in the first half. The Eskymos were 8 of 18 from the charity stripe.

“I thought we played real hard,” Marquette coach Ben Smith said. “I liked our aggressiveness getting to the rim. It’s one thing to get to the line, but you have to cash in. I thought our girls did a pretty good job with that.”

From left, Escanaba’s Keira Maki recovers a loose ball knocked away from Marquette’s Ella Jezewski by teammate Mari Bink on Tuesday in Escanaba during the 2021-22 season opener. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

Esky was within 35-30 following an eight-foot jump shot by sophomore guard Kiera Maki 23 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The Eskymos, however, were unable to get any closer as the Redettes gained their first double-digit lead, 42-31, on a lay-in by senior forward Maria Millado with 5:10 remaining.

“We missed Nicole Kamin tonight,” Esky coach Mike Beveridge said about the former Eskymos star who now is on the Grand Valley State University roster. “We’re trying to find our identity. I thought (junior) Bailey Barron did a nice job running the point.

“When we got close, we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. I think Marquette grew quicker and played better in the second half.”

Marquette took a 24-17 lead on a pair of free throws by Millado with 1:45 left before halftime.

EHS senior forward Madison Monkevich drained a 20-foot jumper from the left wing to bring the Eskymos within four points, and Bink got a steal and fast break 25 seconds before halftime to make it 24-22.

Marquette responded early in the third with senior guard Zoe Smith hitting a layup and junior guard Siena Lingle adding a steal and layup for a 28-22 cushion.

The Eskymos came back within 29-24 on a lay-in by Barron with 3:15 left in the third.

Marquette, however, bumped its lead back up to 35-26 on a pair of free throws by junior center Meghan MacPhee with 1:05 left in the third.

“We knew they were young, but they’re athletic,” Coach Smith said. “We’re also inexperienced. Few of our girls played just one (MHSAA Division 1) district game last year.

“We were able to track down a lot of loose balls, which helped us finish plays on offense. I thought we did a good job handling our nerves. This was the first of many opportunities to take inventory of where we need to get better.”

The teams combined for 48 turnovers and 39 fouls. Esky finished with 26 of those turnovers.

“In the first game, you often have a lot of turnovers,” Beveridge said. “I thought the defense was intense on both sides and probably had an effect on some of those…. We’ve got to make improvements for our second game (Friday at Sault Ste. Marie).

“I’m proud of the effort. The girls played hard, but we have some work to do. We need to work on taking care of the ball.”

Millado led the Redettes with 18 points, while MacPhee, who sank 10 of 12 free throws, added 12. Maki led the Eskymos with 11 as Bink had 10.

Marquette, which lost the JV game 50-30, travels downstate for a pair of games this weekend at the Petoskey Invitational.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today