Westwood stays calm, defeats Negaunee girls in top-5 matchup
By RYAN STIEG
Journal Sports Writer
ISHPEMING — Discipline is a key aspect of basketball games and it can sometimes be the thing that determines a win or a loss.
In Friday night’s game between Westwood and Negaunee, it definitely played a role. In the second half, the Patriots looked calm and collected while making good decisions, while the Miners looked shaky and a bit out of coordination offensively.
As a result of that, Westwood took what was a slim lead at the half and padded it to double digits in the fourth quarter on its way to a 53-40 victory.
Tessa Leece led the Patriots with 19 points, while Natalie Prophet had 11.
Kenzie Karki and Hannah Voskuhl both had 11 points for the Miners.
“Discipline sums it all up right there on both sides of the court,” Negaunee head coach Brandon Sager said. “We broke down and did not have the discipline that we were supposed to have.
“We didn’t defend what we were supposed to do, and offensively we didn’t run our sets properly. I’m really disappointed in that.”
Up six heading into the third quarter, Westwood got help with two three-point plays from Prophet and a bucket by Emily Nelson to go up 32-23. However, Negaunee answered back with two triples from Voskuhl and only trailed by five, 40-35, heading into the fourth.
The Patriots’ discipline came into play, though, in the final quarter. Westwood opened with an 11-0 run, including two baskets by Leece and a trey from Prophet. Now down by 16 with 2:36 left, the Miners went into desperation mode, but the Patriots locked down defensively, holding Negaunee to just five points the rest of the way.
“I think the turning point tonight was in the third quarter when she had two ‘and-1s’ in a row,” Westwood head coach Kurt Corcoran said about Prophet. “That’s when the momentum started shifting and when we started to pull away.
“Natalie really adds another dimension to our basketball team. Along with Natalie’s two ‘and-1s,’ we started talking a lot more on the defensive end and started making a lot of switches and communicating a lot more. That brought the intensity up and I think our defense at the end is what won us the ball game.”
The first quarter was close as the Miners got a trey and a free throw from Voskuhl to take a 10-6 advantage into the second.
However, the Patriots started off hot with eight straight points including a 3-pointer from Madi Koski. The Miners’ Abby Nelson cut Westwood’s lead to one at 14-13 with a triple of her own, but the Patriots answered with a driving layup from Koski and a trey from Mallory Leece.
Negaunee again whittled the Patriots’ advantage to one at 19-18 with an Alyssa Hill layup and a 3-pointer from Karki, but Tessa Leece hit a triple and Koski dropped in a layup go extend Westwood’s lead to 24-18 at the half.
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is email@example.com.