Prep boys basketball: Negaunee wins matchup of top two U.P. teams in Marquette

MARQUETTE – A game between the top teams in the Upper Peninsula was just what the doctor ordered.

But the medicine that was prescribed went down a lot easier for the Class ABC No. 2 Negaunee Miners than it did for the No. 1 Marquette Redmen.

After the Redmen won at Negaunee’s Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in mid-December, the Miners turned the tables on Thursday night, taking a 61-55 victory at the Marquette Senior High School gym.

“I love to play these games. They get us ready for the (postseason) tournament,” said Negaunee senior guard Tyler Jandron, who led all players with 27 points, not to mention four assists and three steals.

“This was a classic high school basketball game between two quality teams,” MSHS coach Brad Nelson said. “It’s nice to play them now with the districts coming up in a couple of weeks. These are the kind of games we’ll have to win if we want to advance at all in the tournament.

“We’ll learn from this. We’ll learn that we have to put four quarters together if we expect to beat a team of this caliber.

“I’d say we played well for about two-thirds of the game.”

Nelson pointed at the second period as a major portion of the other third, when Negaunee (15-1) extended a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter into a 29-17 halftime advantage.

“We were slow in moving the ball in the first half, and it gave their defense a chance to recover,” the Marquette coach said. “I think maybe we were awestruck in the first quarter with some of the shots Jandron and (senior guard Eric) Lori were making.”

At 5-foot-8 and facing probably the tallest set of guards Negaunee will see all year, Lori had no problem taking a step back several feet behind the 3-point arc to sink a triple in each of the first two quarters. He finished with 13 points before fouling out with about 90 seconds left to play.

Jandron puts on his own moves, imitating a circus high-wire act with all the contortions he’s able to do in the air, resetting himself for the best look or getting himself into positions where he can draw contact and probable foul calls.

But the 2013 Class C all-stater was noticeably limping after getting the worst of a charging foul he was called for two minutes into the second half, though he shook it off.

While he seemed undeterred handling the ball, he might’ve lost something on his long-range shots since he made just one jumper the rest of the game.

The wily veteran, in his third year as a starter and fourth year on varsity, still found a way to score 12 points after that, making a late-game 3-pointer from the right baseline and stealing a defensive rebound from Marquette (13-1) and sneaking in the layup.

He also sank seven of eight free throws in the second half, making all four of his tries in the final 32.5 seconds that sealed the result.

NHS senior Zane Radloff, who finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, said any dropoff by Jandron shouldn’t hurt the Miners.

“I don’t know if it bothered him at all, but we have good enough players to still be able to score,” the 6-5 forward said. “The big thing, though, was that we played good defense. I think that was what our key was.”

NHS coach Mike O’Donnell agreed that not having Lori available when these teams met in December made a big difference.

“Eric takes a lot of attention off the top of our rotation,” he said. “The first time we played them, it seemed like they’d have four guys just collapsing on Tyler.”

In the first half Thursday, Lori had 10 points and Jandron 13. Nobody for Marquette had more than six as the Miners went on a 15-2 run starting with Jandron’s quick 15-footer at the first-quarter buzzer up till Lori’s triple off an inbounds pass made it 25-13 with 3:03 left in the first half.

By game’s end, four Marquette players had scored in double figures, the only Redmen to get points. Seniors Larry Burnette had 16, Brad Brow 15, and Andy Nyquist 11 to go with eight rebounds and four assists. Junior Vejas Grazulis added 13 points.

Negaunee also won the JV game, 51-39.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is