Prep girls basketball: Anderson hits late free throws to lift Negaunee to 42-41 win

NEGAUNEE – Even with the offenses struggling at times, the Gwinn and Negaunee girls basketball teams fought to a classic finish that fans should remember for some time to come at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee on Thursday night.

The lead changed hands seven times in the third quarter, a prelude to the game’s end when the teams traded leads twice in the final 10 seconds.

The outcome was determined at the line with 5.7 seconds left, when Negaunee senior Rosalie Anderson sank both ends of a one-and-one free-throw situation to lift her team to a 42-41 victory.

Gwinn had just taken a 41-40 lead a few seconds earlier on the shortest of jump shots by sophomore Tori Lauren before an unfortunate backcourt foul by the Modeltowners’ Jordyn Hutchens sent Anderson to the line.

“I was stressing that we had to foul them right away if we were still behind,” GHS coach Ben Olsen said about a timeout he called with 27.7 seconds to go. “I should’ve made it clear that we didn’t want to foul if we still had the lead.”

Negaunee coach Brandon Sager said his team was fatigued by the fourth quarter with an unaccustomed long day for his players.

“Today was the first day back at school since the (holiday) break and they’re all ‘gassed’ right now,” he said.

But he added that his team fought through the tiredness despite shooting just 30 percent on 18 of 60 from the field.

What helped the Miners, now 5-3 overall and 5-0 in the Mid-Peninsula Conference, was making 17 steals while committing just 10 turnovers. With a decisive size advantage, Gwinn (2-5, 1-1) held only a modest 31-25 rebounding advantage despite the 6-foot Lauren grabbing a game-high 10 boards.

Lauren and 6-3 senior teammate Shelby Talsma towered over Negaunee’s starting five, none who stand taller than 5-6.

“That’s been the game plan against us, pressuring our guards,” Olsen said. “We struggled with that in the first half, but we did a good job adjusting later.

“You try to prepare the girls in practice for everything you might see in a game, but in my two years here, we always seem to have a ‘lull’ quarter. Today it was the third.”

Leading 22-18 at halftime, Gwinn scored just seven points in the third to fall behind 33-29 entering the final quarter.

Anderson finished with eight points to share team scoring honors with junior Courtney Clickner, while junior Ashley Tresedder added seven points and five steals, and sophomore Courtney Finnila had four points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Gwinn junior Ellie Olsen led all scorers with 10 points and added five assists, while Hutchens scored nine points.

Though Negaunee led for nearly all the fourth quarter, those final eight minutes were tense.

Tresedder picked up her fourth foul with 5:44 left just after the Miners built their biggest lead, 38-31. A few minutes, Anderson crumpled to the floor with an ankle injury, though she quickly returned to the game.

Around that time, Hutchens opened a 7-0 Modeltowners run with a fast-break layup following a steal. By the time McKenzie Hollands sank a 3-pointer and Lauren made a layup about 100 seconds later, the game was tied 38-38.

The final minute included a call that almost changed the game’s outcome. With 27.7 seconds left and Negaunee leading 40-39, players from both teams were struggling on the floor for a rebound following a missed free throw by Anderson.

Modeltowners coach Ben Olsen yelled for a timeout and it was granted, even though Gwinn didn’t have control of the ball.

The refs huddled together and determined that play shouldn’t have stopped, and because neither team had possession, it was treated as a tie-up using the alternating possession arrow, which pointed to the Modeltowners.

Olsen then took the timeout he originally wanted, setting up a pass under the basket from Ellie Olsen to Lauren, who scored with about 10 seconds left to give their team its final lead.

Negaunee also won the JV game, 48-32.