Ishpeming, MI – February 14, 2020 – Earlier in the week, the Negaunee Miners Boys Basketball team had to survive for a home victory over Westwood. On Valentine’s Day, the now 14-1 Miners left no doubt with a 30-point win over its rival, the Ishpeming Hematites. Jesse Anderson had the call from Ishpeming on Sunny 101.9.
After a lackluster offensive performance against Westwood, the Miners came out swinging against the Hematites. Ishpeming took a 2-0 lead early, but after Jakson Sager tied the game at 2-2, the Miners never trailed again. Sager, Drew Lindberg and Jason Waterman couldn’t be stopped for Negaunee, all three were barraging the Ishpeming defense. The Miners’ full court pressure was giving Ishpeming problems, leading to a few fast break layups. Breck Bell scored the first four points of the game for Ishpeming, he was trying to keep them in it. After one quarter, Negaunee led 19-9 with its offense clicking on all cylinders.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 19, Ishpeming Hematites 9
Will Luke was the only Negaunee player to score in the first half other than Sager, Waterman or Lindberg. His and-one gave the Miners’ 22-11 lead with seven minutes left until halftime. Ben Pruett’s 3-point shooting came alive for the Hematites, drilling two shots from beyond the arch. Bell led Ishpeming with 10 points in the first half, with Jacob Kugler pitching in with seven and Pruett had six with his two 3-pointers. Despite getting good balance from its top three scorers, the Hematites couldn’t stop the top three of Negaunee. Waterman led the game with 16 points at halftime, with Sager and Lindberg not far behind, both had 11 points. The trio combined for 38 of Negaunee’s 41 first half points, and the Miners led 41-23 heading into the locker room.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 41, Ishpeming Hematites 23
Negaunee extended the lead to 21 points after a 3-pointer from Lindberg, but the Hematites went on a run to make things interesting. John Corkin and Otto Swanson hit back-to-back 3-point shots to cut the deficit to 45-29. Waterman answered back with a 3-point shot, but the Hematites continued to battle. Pruett hit two consecutive 3’s, and Bell had a fast break basket. All of a sudden, Ishpeming only trailed by only 11 points, but the Miners had a big answer. Negaunee went on a 15-0 run to take a 63-37 lead, capping off the key stretch was a 3-pointer from Chas Kumpala. The Hematites finally ended the drought with a bucket, but they fouled Sager on a layup attempt as the buzzer sounded. He sunk both free throws, and Negaunee led 65-39 over the Hematites. This game was all but over.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 65, Ishpeming Hematites 39
Sager continued doing damage in the final quarter for the Miners, he was slashing to the rim for good looks. He finished the game with 20 points, which was unbelievably only good enough for third-highest on the team. Waterman led the game with 22 points, and Lindberg had the second-highest total with 21. Though it didn’t translate to a win, Ishpeming’s trio of Kugler, Bell and Pruett combined for 37 of the team’s 46 points. After leading nearly start to finish, the Miners improved to 14-1 on the season with a 76-46 win over Ishpeming.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 76, Ishpeming Hematites 46
NEXT GAME: As the regular season winds down to its end, the road doesn’t get any easier for the Negaunee Miners Boys Basketball team. Negaunee hosts the Gladstone Braves on Tuesday, Feb. 18 to begin the week before having to travel to Marquette on Thursday, Feb. 20 to take on the Redmen. Jesse Anderson will be live from Negaunee on Sunny 101.9 for Tuesday’s contest against the Braves. The Elder Agency Pregame Show begins at 7 p.m., with tip-off at 7:30 p.m. Go Miners!