Prep girls basketball: Marquette shuts down Gladstone for GNC win

GLADSTONE – Playing machine-like defense, the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Marquette Redettes stormed into Gladstone and threw the balanced Gladstone Braves offense off their game in a 52-37 Great Northern Conference victory on Tuesday night.

The Redettes couldn’t have asked for a better start on the road. They began the game on a 14-1 run and held Gladstone without a field goal until the 2:42 mark of the opening frame. Gladstone forward Anna Wulf got into foul trouble early and the Redettes capitalized with some easy buckets in transition.

Gladstone couldn’t get anything going offensively and struggled even to get decent looks and get a shot off. Jess Beaudry, making her first start in a month, got the Braves on the board, and Wulf had some opportunities getting to the line eight times in the quarter, but only made two of her free throws.

By the first quarter buzzer, Marquette held a virtually insurmountable 21-4 advantage.

“It was a really good start,” said Redettes head coach Ben Smith. “Someone was saying earlier that this is a hard gym to play in, and I think (Gladstone) is just a hard team to play against. They always play hard, they do a bunch of different things and they do it well.

“Defensively, you have to change things up and you have to adjust to what they’re doing, and it’s not always easy.”

Gladstone rallied back in the second quarter, beginning on a 15-2 run to pull within 23-19, but the Redettes’ lapse ended there as they responded with an 8-0 run to end the quarter. Hunter Viitala hit a triple to stop the bleeding, then hit Martha Storm on the fast break and capped things off with a bucket and the extra point after the foul to give the Redettes a 31-19 lead at the break.

“That first quarter kind of hurt us a little, getting off to that kind of a start,” said Gladstone head coach Karl Dollhopf. “But credit to the kids. They worked hard, passed the ball, and before the half we had it down to 4-5 points at one point. We battled back.

“The whole night, we seemed to do some pretty good things defensively, we rebounded the ball well, but on the offensive end, I thought we were out of sync. We struggled, but that’s a credit to their defense.”

The Redettes implemented a variety of defense to befuddle the Braves into a season-high 21 turnovers. They began in a zone, switched to a full court press and transitioned into a half court man.

The Braves also tightened up defensively. After allowing 21 points in the first quarter, they held Marquette to 16 points over the next two frames.

“Coach Dollhopf goes into the game with one mindset, one gameplan and he seems to find something that’s working and sticks with it, and we have to try and adjust to it,” said Smith. “Early on we had some easy buckets in transition and made some plays, and then they actually switched to a tough half-court man-to-man defense and they locked us down. That’s a big adjustment for them to get back into it.”

Viitala scored a game-high 19 points with six rebounds, six steals, five assists and one block. Elizabeth Kurin hauled down six rebounds and had three blocks to go along with six points and Morgan Leadbetter had three assists and three steals.

Beaudry led the way for Gladstone with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Marquette (13-0, 3-0 GNC) held a nine point advantage going into the fourth, but pulled away with five straight points from Destiny Beckwith to start the quarter. The Redettes then made their free throws down the stretch, going a perfect 14-of-14 from the line.