Prep girls basketball: Angry Marquette Redettes start strong, cruise past Negaunee

MARQUETTE – You’d think a nonconference game with little at stake might result in a lackluster performance.

Not for Marquette Senior High School’s girls basketball team Tuesday night.

Outscoring visiting Negaunee 17-2 in the opening quarter, the Redettes breezed to a 60-22 victory in a game that saw a running clock used in the final quarter.

“Part of it was our losses to Kingsford and Houghton (the last two games),” MSHS coach Ben Smith said. “The girls were angry (about that).

“Not everything was perfect tonight, but the girls played hard. The energy and effort was there.”

Hunter Viitala scored seven of her game-high 22 points in the opening quarter to help MSHS get off and running.

“We played hard as a team. That was our goal, to pick it up,” said Marquette’s Lizzie Kurin, who notched 11 points to go with a game-high eight rebounds.

“In the first quarter, we made sure we worked hard and kept our energy up.”

The Class ABC No. 3-ranked Redettes (17-2) then outscored the Miners (10-9) by a 13-6 count in the second quarter for a 30-10 halftime advantage.

“We weren’t ready to go and just got outplayed,” said Negaunee head coach Brandon Sager, whose team has lost three straight games.

“But give Marquette credit. They played well.”

Viitala poured in nine points in the third quarter to give MSHS a 50-13 advantage and set the stage for a running clock.

“She does it all and makes a difference,” Smith said. “She does it with the basketball in her hands, chasing it or putting it in her teammates’ hands.”

MSHS wound up sinking 21 of 37 shots from the field – including 5 of 8 triples – for 56.7 percent compared with Negaunee’s 9 of 43 for 21 percent.

“Our teamwork was right on tonight,” Kurin said.

Smith said looming district tournament play was another reason for his Redettes coming out of the gates focused.

“The district is one of our goals,” he said. “We’ve wanted to get better every game in order to compete. We have to be ready next week.”

Marquette outrebounded Negaunee 28-17, with Aleda Johnson pacing the Miners with five.

MSHS won the JV contest, 67-21.