Prep girls basketball: Marquette completes sweep of Westwood with first meeting still fresh

MARQUETTE – The Marquette Senior High School girls basketball team once again survived a Westwood rally on Monday to complete a season-sweep of the Patriots via a 59-45 nonconference victory at MSHS.

Just 11 days prior inside the WHS gymnasium, the Redettes watched the Pats cut an 18-point lead to just one in a 54-53 win for MSHS.

“We had a quick turnaround,” MSHS coach Ben Smith said. “We played them up there over a week ago and we had about an 18-point lead near the end of the third quarter and it was a one-point game. We didn’t really finish it the way we would have liked then.”

On Monday in Marquette, the Redettes led by 10 in the first half, only to see that lead cut to five at halftime, 28-23.

MSHS pushed the advantage to 11 by the end of the third quarter, not allowing the Patriots to once again take the game down to the wire.

“Westwood plays hard and they did again,” Smith said. “We were up by 10 in the first half and they cut it to five going into the break and we knew they weren’t going away. If we did, we just had to think back to the last game. We dug in an made enough plays to keep it where were a little more comfortable this time.”

Redettes junior Hunter Viitala led all scorers with 26 points off 8-of-15 shooting from the field with a pair of 3-pointers. She also hit 8-of-10 free throws, had eight rebounds and six steals.

MSHS junior Madalyne Connon had nine points and four rebounds, hitting 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

MSHS junior Elizabeth Kurin provided a big defensive boost, according to Smith. Kurin finished with seven points, four rebounds, a pair of steals and a team-high four blocks.

“Defensively, (Kurin) went straight up on a number of plays and was able to get some deflections,” Smith said. “We get up and pressure and you’re going to give up some layups, but we definitely want to protect the bucket and do it without fouling. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”

As a team, the Redettes made 17-of-24 free throws, or 71 percent. They shot 48 percent (18 of 38) from 2-point range, but a 2-of-14 shooting night from beyond the arc dropped Marquette’s field goal percentage down to 39 percent on the night.

MSHS, at 8-0 overall, only takes a few days off for Christmas before returning to the practice floor Thursday prior to playing Friday and Saturday downstate against Traverse City Central and West in the TC Holiday Tournament.

“I told the girls I’m proud of our effort for the first eight, but we have to go back and look at some of the things we can still get better at, clean up,” Smith said. “To be at this point with the limited practice time we’ve had with all the games, I like the way we’re going, but we’re definitely not there yet.”

MSHS won the junior varsity game, 58-25, and the freshmen game, 42-31.

No statistics were provided for Westwood.