No. 1 Redmen clinch GNC boys basketball title

ESCANABA – The top-ranked Marquette Redmen wasted no time warming up as they met Escanaba for a Great Nothern Conference matchup Friday night.

Coming out in top gear right from the start, the Redmen poured it on the shellshocked Eskymos, who despite their best efforts, simply couldn’t keep up with the high flying offense of Marquette, which went on to win 64-40 to wrap up the Great Northern Conference title.

The Redmen easily led from start to finish, which was made easier with a 4-for-4 start from 3-point range. Larry Burnette began with back-to-back triples and Brad Brow followed with a blast from downtown of his own, followed by an easy layup after a steal. Just two minutes into the game, the Redmen had an 11-2 lead.

Brandon Robinette, who led the Eskymos (4-10, 1-5 GNC) with 14 points and seven rebounds, answered the Redmen (13-1, 7-0 GNC), who were launching 3s like cruise missiles, with one of his own.

“On the board in the lockerroom, you’ll see written down, Burnette, three, drives left,”?Escanaba coach Tracy Hudson said. “That’s what he did all night. We moved different guys on him and we couldn’t stop him.”

Burnette finished with a game-high 23 points while Pap put up 20 points with eight rebounds and three blocks as Marquette played without starter A.J. Grazulis.

Redmen coach Brad Nelson said he discussed coming out with high intensity before the game.

“I didn’t want us thinking they were going to walk over Esky because they’re a capable team and well coached,” he said. “Larry’s a streaky player but if he’s feeling it, he’ll make teams pay. Tonight he was the guy who stepped up.”

MSHS began to lock down after halftime. Transitioning to more of a half-court game, the Redmen tightened up on defense and the Eskymos scored four points in the third.

“In the second half, we wanted to focus on the half court and play it safe, don’t gamble, use the clock,” said Nelson.