Marinette Marines (from left): Katelyn Kuffel, Teya Tonn, Cassie Hilbert, Alex Cording, Ellie Wahl, Stephanie Corry and Lexi Bohan celebrate their home win over Seymour Friday night. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette Marines (from left): Katelyn Kuffel, Teya Tonn, Cassie Hilbert, Alex Cording, Ellie Wahl, Stephanie Corry and Lexi Bohan celebrate their home win over Seymour Friday night. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
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MARINETTE - Marinette played like the end of its girls' basketball losing streak may be the start of something much better.

The Marines beat Seymour 44-35 to end a 26-game losing streak, a futility run that was especially painful because the Marines lost some very winnable games.

Not this time. A 15-0 run in the second quarter gave the Marines the lead for good, and they protected that lead like a family treasure.

"It just takes one," said Marine junior Cassie Hilbert, who scored 22 points. "One win can carry the momentum for the rest of the season."

Seymour (2-8) took a 9-4 lead before the Marines played a nearly flawless second quarter. Kierstin Metzner scored on a three-point play, Cassie Hilbert hit a shot and Teya Lambie's bucket tied the game with 5:19 in the half. Hilbert hit a 2-pointer and a 3-pointer, and freshman post player Katelyn Kuffel contributed five points off the bench to complete the 15-0 run.

Marinette committed just 13 turnovers - none in the second quarter.

"Coach always said 'keep it under 15, and we win,'" Hilbert said.

The Marine offense wasn't as productive in the third quarter, but the defense dug in and maintained the lead.

"Probably the biggest thing is we played smart," Marine coach Luke Maulding said. "We played good defense. We protected the basketball."

Three times in the third quarter, the Thunder cut the Marine lead to three. All three times, Hilbert answered with a bucket.

Marinette scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take command. Lambie hit a shot, Alex Cording knocked down a 3-pointer and Hilbert sank two free throws. Hilbert's turnaround jumper opened up a 41-29 lead with 4:25 remaining.

After Seymour made it a two-possession game with 54 seconds left, Lambie split a pair of free throws and Hilbert hit two foul shots to end any doubts.

"It's a great feeling to finally win," Marine senior Stephanie Corry said. "We just came out with more confidence and knew we could win. It's a great step forward to the rest of the season."

Cording limited Seymour's leading scorer, Asia Danforth, to six points with tight man-to-man defense.

Hilbert ripped down 11 rebounds, as the Marines gained a 28-22 advantage on the boards.

"We needed to get over that hump to finish a close game," Maulding said. "A lot of work. A lot of time. It's a breath of fresh air."

Marinette's junior varsity lost 41-31. Mariah Strohl, Marissa Mailand and Kaytlyn Schulte scored eight apiece for the Marines.

Makayla Bell scored 16 to lead Marinette's freshmen in a 45-24 win. Megan Suhs added 11 and Jordan Miller seven.

SEYMOUR (35) - Wenninger 0, Baumgart 2, Danforth 6, Zahn 4, A. Gray 8, O. Gray 1, Kolminowski 6, Marcks 6, Heinke 0. FGs: 15-42; FTs: 3-14
MARINETTE (44) - Bohan 0, Cording 3, Lambie 7, Hilbert 22, Corry 0, Metzner 5, Veriha 0, Kuffel 7. FGs: 15-34; FTs: 12-28

Seymour 9 6 9 11 - 35
Marinette 4 17 8 15 - 44