Marquette clinches Great Northern Conference girls basketball title, topping Kingsford

MARQUETTE – Hunter Viitala made sure the Marquette Senior High School basketball Redettes clinched the Great Northern Conference championship Thursday night.

She poured in 30 points – 13 in the first quarter – hauled in 12 rebounds and recorded six steals as host MSHS beat league foe Kingsford 75-63.

Kirsten Iwanski added 14 points and nine boards, and Morgan Seibert chipped in 12 points, as Class ABC No. 1-ranked Marquette improved to 13-3 overall and 8-0 in the GNC.

“It was Senior Night, which is always an emotional thing,” MSHS head coach Ben Smith said. “We led 43-26 at the half, but we didn’t handle their pressure well in the third quarter.

“Kingsford cut our lead to three at one point before we made enough plays to close it out.”

MSHS won the JV game, 76-41.

Negaunee 58, Iron Mountain 43

At Negaunee, the Miners kept a strangehold on the top spot in the Mid-Peninsula Conference as senior guard Taylor Wilber scored a game-high 18 points.

“We turned up or intensity in the second half and had a series of layups off steals, especially in the fourth quarter,” Negaunee coach Brandon Sager said.

The Miners (12-3, 8-1) pulled away from a narrow 20-15 halftime edge by scoring 15 points in the third quarter and 23 in the fourth.

Senior Ashley Veale contributed 12 points and four rebounds to the winning cause, while senior Kayla Hakala added seven points, four rebounds and six assists.

Negaunee also won the JV game, 57-46.

Norway 27, Ishpeming 23

At Ishpeming Thursday night, the host Hematites were unable to hold a 16-4 lead at the half and lost to Norway, 27-23, in a Mid-Peninsula Conference girls basketball game.

“We played well defensively and had a 12-point lead at the half,” IHS head coach Mark Dellangelo said. “But in the second half, instead of being the aggressor, we were tentative.

“It was just the tale of two halves. We played poorly in the second half.”

Jessica Spencer led Ishpeming (10-6, 7-3 M-PC) with seven points and 10 rebounds.

Ishpeming won the JV game, 45-34.

Gladstone 51, Westwood 22

At Gladstone, the Patriots fell behind 14-6 after the first quarter, then were held to only four points in the second quarter.

“We were off tonight,” said Patriots coach Kurt Corcoran. “We were missing our second and third gear, which is what we thrive on. If we don’t have that, it’s going to be a long season.”

The Patriots turned the ball over 32 times and shot 6-for-33.

Gladstone won the JV game, 46-36.

Gwinn 45, Munising 33

At Gwinn, coach Ben Olsen claims it was nothing he said, but his Modeltowners found their shooting touch after halftime.

Gwinn (6-9) trailed 17-15 at halftime before the Modeltowners erupted for a 22-8 advantage in the third quarter to take a 37-25 lead entering the final period.

“We couldn’t score in the first half, even though we had a lot of open looks,” Olsen said, “but then we just started making shots after halftime. I think we made our first four or five shots in the third quarter.”

The win was the Modeltowners’ third straight.

“Our leaders are getting comfortable with their roles now,” Olsen said. “(Senior guard Lydia) Asplund is playing lights out right now.”

Asplund led all scorers with 17 points and also had four assists. Senior teammate Morgan Bruce had 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while sophomore Ellie Olsen added 10 points and five steals.

For Munising (8-9), sophomore Karlee Decet scored 10 points, while senior Megan McLaren added eight points and senior Sheena Sowa had five points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Gwinn also won the JV game, 64-41.

Superior Central 71, Bark River-Harris 58

At Eben, four Superior Central players scored in double figures to offset a big night by Bark River-Harris’ Sarah Madalinski, who recorded game highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds.

“This is the best challenge we’ve had this season,” said SC coach Greg Trowbridge, whose team improved to 16-0 overall and 10-0 in the Central Upper Peninsula Conference. The Broncos slipped to 15-3 and 7-2.

Junior Vanessa Freberg led the Cougars with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while another junior, Teslyn Tyner, added 17 points, seven assists and five steals.

In addition, senior teammate Kelsey Coleman scored 14 points while junior Molly Swajanen had 13 points.

SC led just 13-12 and 31-30 after each of the first two quarters before Trowbridge encouraged his girls at halftime.

“In the third quarter, our intensity picked up after I challenged them to pick it up,” he said.

The Cougars all but put the game away in the third and led 54-44 entering the final quarter.

BR-H won the JV game, 72-28.