Gaylord, MI – March 10, 2021 – The Lady Miners headed down to Gaylord on Thursday for the MHSAA Reigional Final against the Ludington Orioles. Negaunee looked to continue their historic run, and in their way was Ludington. Carl Leander-Johnson was on the call. The game was broadcast live on Sunny 101.9 and streamed online!
Q1: The game started with Negaunee winning the tip, and Emily Gauthier drawing first blood with the bucket. Ludington answered back quickly with a basket of their own. The two teams continued to exchange buckets in the early minutes of the quarter. Lilly Nelson really brought Negaunee the momentum after a three pointer to give her team the lead.
Ella Mason added on to the early lead after drawing a foul and splitting her free throws to go up by three. Rylee Stone closed the gap after landing a contested shot for Ludington. Negaunee’s Alyssa Hill got to the foul line the following possession and made both of her free throws. The Oriolles looked to battle back, but a failed shot was rebounded by Summer Dudo of the Miners.
Ludington came away with a steal and went on the offensive. Negaunee’s defense played a tough man-to-man scheme which showed off the individual skills of the Miner’s by causing a turnover. Although Negaunee did find themselves into slight foul trouble, forcing them to look for support from their bench. Ludington was able to bring it within one after drawing the foul and hitting a pair of free throws.
Q2: The Orioles had possession of the ball to start the quarter. Negaunee’s defense was able to cause the quick turnover to try to keep their lead growing. Ludington’s defense played physical which also got them into a bit of foul trouble. After an empty possession by the Miner’s, the Orioles gained their first lead of the night after a Rohrer bucket.
Emily Gauthier made sure the lead was short lived as she snatched it back immediately with a bucket of her own. Both of the team’s defenses shined in this quarter. The Miner offense looked to get things back on track with a jumper by Summer Dudo finding it’s mark.
After a Ludington timeout the Orioles looked to fight back and regain their short lived lead. However, this quarter was largely a defensive battle for both teams. Emma McKinley ended a slight scoring drought in the game with a tough shot for the Orioles. Alyssa Hill responded with a basket after a Emily Gauthier assist. Hill followed that with another steal and the finish to build the Miner’s lead going into halftime.
Halftime: Negaunee 17 – Ludington 14
Q3: Negaunee started the final half with the ball, as Ludington’s defense opened with an aggressive trap that was broken seemingly easily. Unfortunately the Miner’s weren’t able to come away with a basket in the opening possession. The Orioles brought it within one after a basket, but Emily Gauthier got a basket the very next possession to being the Miner lead back to three.
Ludington was yet again able to draw the foul, sending RyAnn Rohrer to the line. Rohrer split the pair to bring the Orioles deficit to two. They tied it up immediately after a steal and score by Abi Bandsra of the Orioles. The Miners looked to get back on top, and did so after layup from Summer Dudo.
The two teams went back in forth in the next couple minutes with Ludington tying things up at 21. Negaunee looked to reestablish rhythm on offense, but the Oriole defense was doing a good job of shutting down Alysaa Hill down low. Ludington got their first lead of the half after a shot sent home by Olivia Lynn. Ella Mason was able to hit a wide open three pointer to give the lead back to the Miners.
Q4: Ludington had possession to start the final eight of play in the Regional final. The two teams exchanged empty possessions to start. The Oriole defense kept with their trap, but Negaunee was able to break it fairly easily. Scoring finally got underway with Ludington’s Keelyn Laird knocking down a 7 footer.
The Orioles then built their lead to three after another basket from Laird. Negaunee looked to fight back, and attack the Ludington defense. Emily Gautheir got the dish from Lilly Nelson to get the basket and cut the deficit to one. Emma McKinley then hit a three pointer to bring the Oriole lead to four.
With their largest deficit of the night, Negaunee needed to compose themselves. The Miners brought it back within one after Madison Smith comes off the bench hitting an immediate three. Ludington answered back with a basket, but Ella Mason drew the foul the following possession. Mason split the free throws, as the Miners trailed by two.
Under two minutes to play, Ludington looked to build their lead. An untimely foul brought Keelyn Laird to the line for a one-and-one going two for two. With a four point deficit Negaunee had to act quickly. Alyssa Hill got to the free throw line, and split the pair of shots. Down by three Negaunee had the ball with under :10 to go. Unable to hit the tying shot, Ludington held on to walk away with the win.
FINAL: Negaunee 31 – Ludington 34
Joe Boogren Player of the Game: Emily Gauthier, Negaunee
After a historic run, the Negaunee Miner’s season comes to an end with tonight’s loss. This season’s team made the furthest playoff run for the girl’s team since the 1980’s and ended with a 18-6 record winning the District Championship. What an amazing season by the Negaunee Miners!