Prep boys basketball: Burnette has breakout game for Marquette against Escanaba

MARQUETTE – Larry Burnette III showed Friday night he’s more than just a scorer.

The UPSSA’s No. 1-ranked Marquette Senior High School senior forward did notch a career-high 25 points as the Redmen dumped visiting No. 5 Escanaba, 69-47, in a Great Northern Conference game.

But maybe just as importantly, Burnette held Escanaba star center Brandon Robinette to just six points. The 6-foot-5 senior center is averaging 20 points a game.

“I just played him straight up,” Burnette said. “I tried to deny him the ball. I always trust myself to play good defense. Defense wins games.”

Robinette didn’t score until just 2:15 remained in the third quarter in the MSHS (12-0 overall, 6-0 in GNC), winter homecoming game.

“He had some opportunities,” Eskymos coach Tracy Hudson said, noting Robinette was 3 of 11 from the field. “He just didn’t have his best game. He couldn’t find his rhythm.”

Added MSHS coach Brad Nelson: “Larry is the guy that if we think someone from the other team has to be locked down (defensively), it his job. He’s a competitive person.”

Burnette was also aggressive offensively, forsaking his usual jump shots from the outside for buckets on drives to the basket

“I just took advantage of some mismatches,” said Burnette, who also recorded four steals, two assists, two blocks and two rebounds in the contest. “I saw some openings and just kept attacking.”

He notched 13 points in the first half en route to a 35-29 lead. Teammate and junior center Vejas Grazulis scored 14 of his 16 game points in the first two quarters.

“Larry had a breakout game,” Nelson said. “I could tell the last few games his ability to get to the rim has been good. He did a great job doing that tonight.”

Senior guard Jamie Hiltunen scored all 11 of his game points in the first half for Escanaba.

Nelson said he made some adjustments on defense in the final 16 minutes that enabled the Redmen to pull away.

“We used a half-court man defense,” he said, “and we held (the Eskymos) to just 18 points (four in the fourth quarter).”

Marquette senior guard Brad Brow ended any Escanaba hopes of a second half comeback by scoring seven unanswered points in the final moments of the third quarter.

The Eskymos (10-4, 5-2) had gotten to within 50-43 on a Robinette basket before Brow’s explosion.

“Marquette killed us in offensive transition in the second half,” Hudson said. “Brow hurt us in that third quarter (especially) with his nine points.”

Brow finished with 17 points. Teammate and senior point guard Andy Nyquist recorded nine assists and six rebounds – both team highs.

“We executed our (offensive plays) and took care of the ball,” Burnette said. “We were going up and down the court for some easy baskets.”

Escanaba won the JV game, 64-54.