Negaunee, MI – March 2, 2020 – March is here, and it didn’t take long for the MHSAA District 66 Tournament to get interesting as the Negaunee Miners Girls Basketball team hung on for a 37-36 victory in the first round over the Gwinn Modeltowners! Jesse Anderson had the call from Negaunee’s Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium on Sunny 101.9.
It was a tough start for Negaunee on its home court, as the Modeltowners made three consecutive 3-pointers to take a 9-0 lead within the first three minutes. The Miners couldn’t buy a bucket, and the turnovers were hurting them to open the game. Alyssa Hill finally got Negaunee on the board with a layup after a timeout, that cut the deficit to 9-2. Gwinn had an answer with a basket from Megan Ruokalainen, and its lead was right back up to nine. Both teams struggled to score in the final three minutes of the quarter, and Gwinn led 11-2 after one quarter of play.
End of 1st: Gwinn Modeltowners 11, Negaunee Miners 2
Negaunee looked for some life in the second quarter, and it was found as Lilly Nelson knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the Modeltowners’ lead to 11-5. Gwinn’s Lena Pleaugh countered with a 3-point shot of her own, and the lead was up to nine once again. Hill began to get it going down low for the Miners, scoring back-to-back buckets to make the score 14-9 with six minutes left in the half. Marissa Delmont was on fire for the Modeltowners in the first half, she scored 12 points and made two more 3-pointers to give her team a 20-9 lead with three minutes left. Thankfully for the Miners, Chloe Norman got on the board with five second quarter points. A 7-0 Negaunee run led by Norman and Bree Giotto cut Gwinn’s lead to 20-16 with less than a minute to go in the half. That’s how the half would end, and the Miners trailed by four points.
Halftime: Gwinn Modeltowners 20, Negaunee Miners 16
Morgan Carlson started off the scoring in the second half for the Miners with a basket, and Gwinn led 20-18. Emily Curtice answered with a big 3-pointer to push the Gwinn lead up to five points. The third quarter was a struggle for both teams on offense, but the Modeltowners maintained a five-point lead with under a minute left. Negaunee made its move late in the third however, cutting the lead to one. At the end of the third quarter, Gwinn led 25-24.
End of 3rd: Gwinn Modeltowners 25, Negaunee Miners 24
The first couple of minutes in the fourth quarter were scoreless for both squads until Hill scored for Negaunee to give the Miners a 26-25 lead with six minutes left. It was Negaunee’s first lead of the game, and Carlson added to it with an and-one. Curtice responded for Gwinn with a 3-pointer, cutting Negaunee’s lead to 29-28. Both teams continued to play stingy defense and trade baskets, and the Miners led 35-33 with less than two minutes left. Norman and Larissa Anderson were making free throws for Negaunee, extending the lead to 37-33 with under a minute to go. Curtice had a big response with a 3-point shot with 19 seconds left, that made it a one-point game. Anderson missed a pair of free throws to keep the margin at one point, and the Modeltowners had the ball for the final shot. Delmont took the shot for Gwinn in the final seconds, and it was no good. The Negaunee Miners survived with a 37-36 victory over Gwinn, and will advance to the District 66 Semifinals against Manistique.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 37, Gwinn Modeltowners 36
NEXT GAME: After fending off Gwinn, the Negaunee Miners Girls Basketball team will be back in action on Wednesday, March 4, as it takes the road to battle the Manistique Emeralds! Jesse Anderson will have the call from Manistique on Sunny 101.9, with game time scheduled for 7 p.m. Go Miners!