Prep girls basketball: Tresedder’s defense sparks Negaunee to share of M-PC title

NEGAUNEE – On most nights, the game that 5-foot-4 guard Ashley Tresedder had wouldn’t be a whole lot more than a footnote in the box score.

But on Thursday night, she got credit as the table setter for a comeback by her Negaunee Miners girls basketball team that led to them getting part of the Mid-Peninsula Conference title.

The Miners defeated Ishpeming 53-49 at Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee to break a tie between the teams atop the league standings.

But with a third team involved in the tie, Westwood, it means the Miners share the title with a 10-2 record as Ishpeming came in third at 9-3. Negaunee also finishes the regular season at 11-9 while the Hematites end at 14-6.

Ishpeming would’ve been that co-champion if it could’ve held onto a 28-22 halftime lead, but NHS needed just 3 minutes of the third quarter to erase that advantage and another minute to take the lead for good.

Tresedder got credit from her coach and teammates for sparking the comeback.

“We came out intense because of what Ashley Tresedder did,” Negaunee’s 5-3 freshman guard Aleda Johnson said about starting the second half. “In the locker room (at halftime), we were all firing each other up.”

NHS coach Brandon Sager agreed.

“It was almost role reversal in the second half,” he said. “They totally outplayed us in the first half. So I challenged them at halftime. I said I’ve done everything I can do, now it’s up to you. You have to do it.

“I was hoping we could cut down the six-point deficit and even it up by the end of the third quarter. But we did better than that.

“Just before we came out to the gym to start the third quarter, I pulled Ashley aside and said, ‘You have to turn it up now on defense.’

“She led us with three steals, and I think she had them the first three times Ishpeming had the ball.”

A check of the play-by-play showed the coach was close. She actually had all her steals in the first 3 minutes of third quarter, culminating in her own fastbreak layup that tied the game 30-30.

She finished with 10 points, second only to Johnson’s 17.

It countered a big game by the Hematites’ Jessica Spencer, who has led the conference in scoring for much of the season. The 5-9 junior forward finished with a game-high 19 points.

“We did what we wanted by getting them on their heels early, but we didn’t execute starting in the second half,” IHS coach Tom Graves said. “We were just a little sloppy. Negaunee finished its shots better and made their free throws.”

Johnson was in charge of the free-throw parade, and her 8-of-8 performance at the line in the game’s final four minutes was clutch.

How clutch? Coming to the line with the Miners leading by four, three, three and two points, she gave her team a two-possession advantage after each pair made.

Her final two made it 51-47 with 31.9 seconds left, and with senior Rosalie Anderson’s two makes after that, it was enough for Negaunee to allow Ishpeming to take any shot it wanted in the game’s final 10 seconds.

Johnson also led NHS rebounders with nine, while Anderson had eight. The Hematites’ Gabby Croley added a game-high 12 rebounds to go with nine points.

The teams could meet for a third time next Friday in the Class C district championship game hosted by Ishpeming if Negaunee gets past Gwinn and Ishpeming can defeat Westwood in the first round on Wednesday.

Ishpeming won Thursday’s JV game, 41-22.