Prep boys basketball: Negaunee clinches fourth straight M-PC title in win at Gwinn

GWINN – Winning another Mid-Peninsula Conference title has been a goal of the Negaunee High School boys basketball team since Day 1 of the season.

“It’s the first of our long-term goals,” NHS head coach Mike O’Donnell said after his team clinched its fourth straight – and third outright in a row – conference crown with a 44-42 victory over host Gwinn on Thursday night.

“It’s something we don’t take for granted. It’s special because its a tough conference (title) to win.”

Eric Lori sank a long 3-point shot with 13 seconds left to give the Miners (18-1, 11-0) the 44-42 lead.

“We then made a defensive stand to win it,” O’Donnell said. “We responded to adversity well. We made some plays both offensively and defensively down the stretch.”

Lori scored a game-high 19 points. Tyler Jandron added 13 and Jay Lori chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“It was a hard-fought battle,” O’Donnell said. “Gwinn got the jump on us early. We weren’t ready to get out of the gate.”

Justin Nyquist paced Gwinn (10-9, 7-4) with 11 points. Teammate Justin Beauchamp tossed in 10 to go with 11 boards.

“We just didn’t finish in the final minute of play,” Modeltowners coach Darren Sinnaeve said. “We missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Lori then hit a 25-footer.

“It was a real good effort by our guys, though. But credit Negaunee. They finished when they had to.”

Gwinn held a 12-9 first quarter lead. The two teams were tied at the half (22-22) and after the third stanza (34-34).

“I’m proud of the kids defensively,” Sinnaeve said. “(Kylor) Skinner did a real good job defensively on Jandron.

“I hope this game gives us some confidence going into the (Class C) districts (vs. the Miners at Negaunee at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.”