EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Emma Anderson of Menominee makes a layup during Friday’s game in Marinette.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Emma Anderson of Menominee makes a layup during Friday’s game in Marinette.

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MARINETTE — Second-half pressure and a 6-foot-1 sophomore were the keys to the Menominee girls basketball team defeating Marinette 59-43 on Friday, allowing the Maroons to complete the Tri-City sweep. 

Coming off a tough game against West Iron County where she was limited to 10 points, Menominee’s Emma Anderson scored a career-high 31 points (19 in the second half), grabbed 19 rebounds and had five blocks to lead the Maroons back from a 25-22 halftime deficit.

“I didn’t want to lose to Marinette,” Anderson said. “Coach told me to shoot if I was open so I started shooting and got hot. I wasn’t (against West Iron County) so it felt good to shake that off and bounce back like this. Credit to my teammates for finding me and getting me the ball. This was an exciting game.”

In the opening minutes of the game, Marinette jumped out to a 9-3 lead thanks to two 3-pointers from senior Abby Wingender and three points from senior Katelyn Kitzinger. Anderson was there to answer for the Maroons with two offensive rebounds and putbacks to get within 9-7 and sophomore Erin Barrette converted a three-point play to bring them within a point at 11-10 with 7 minutes, 28 seconds in the half. 

Kitzinger was all over the court for the Marines in the first half, slicing through Menominee’s full-court press and getting easy buckets to keep her team in the lead. 

“It seemed like we were a little slow on everything (to start),” Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard said. “When you play a back-to-back, you’re going to have games like this. We were lackadaisical in the first half with our defense and we didn’t do a good job of stopping (Kitzinger) when she had the ball.”

Auburn Waloway made a basket on an out of bounds play to get to 25-20, but Menominee’s Emma Hofer was fouled with 10 seconds left and made both free throws to head into halftime trailing 25-22. 

“I was very happy to go into the half with the lead,” Smith said. “Defensively, we flustered (Menominee) in the first half and did a good job of limiting Emma (Anderson) early on.”

The Maroons made some changes in the locker room at halftime, mostly trying to get Anderson free not only under the basket but on the perimeter as well.

And it worked.

Anderson got free for a corner 3-pointer and on the next Maroon possession she tied the game at 27-27 with a shot from just inside the 3-point line.

Menominee reclaimed the lead when Makenzie Wellner drove baseline for a basket, then Barrette stole the ensuing inbound pass and found Hofer in the lane for a floater. The Maroons took a seven-point lead when Anderson drilled her second 3-pointer of the half to go up 34-27.

“When they pulled (Anderson) to the outside and she started knocking down three’s, that really stretched us out and opened up the inside-outside game for them,” Smith said. 

Menominee then went on a 23-4 run to take control of the game. By the time Kitzinger got free for back-to-back baskets, the Menominee lead was up to 45-33 with just over eight minutes to play. 

“Emma’s got that game where she can play inside and out,” Chouinard said. “When her teammates missed inside she was right there for putbacks and that was a huge advantage down low. But she’s also a big threat from the outside.”

Offensive rebounds were an issue for Marinette. Menominee totaled 19 offensive rebounds in the game and when the Maroons hauled them in, the team often turned them into easy baskets under the hoop. On one possession, Menominee grabbed four offensive rebounds and eventually found Anderson underneath for a layup.

“We struggled on the boards all game,” Smith said. “We gave up 19 offensive rebounds which is unacceptable. We struggled with the height of Anderson. She’s a good player, but we have to do a better job defensively. We knew where the other shooters were all game and did a good job of getting hand in their faces, but Anderson really hurt us down low.”

Marinette cut the deficit to eight when Sims split a pair of free throws, but Menominee ended the game on an 8-0 run to close the door and get a bounce-back win. 

“I told the girls one of our goals is to sweep the Tri-City area,” Chouinard said. “We beat Stephenson, Peshtigo and now Marinette. It’s always a good feeling when you can beat the local teams because they’ve been playing against them since grade school. So it’s very nice to be able to get the M&M win and now we move forward and start to focus on GNC play.” 

Backing Anderson’s big night was Erin Barrette with 11 points and four steals and Emma Hofer, coming off a career-high against West Iron County, added six. 

Kitzinger led Marinette with 21 points and Sims chipped-in eight. 

Menominee starts its Great Northern Conference schedule Monday at Escanaba, while Marinette goes to Freedom on Tuesday.