EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Keagan Monroe of Menominee rises up for a jump shot over Antigo defenders during Monday’s game in Menominee.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Keagan Monroe of Menominee rises up for a jump shot over Antigo defenders during Monday’s game in Menominee.

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MENOMINEE — A bad second quarter for the Menominee boys basketball team allowed Antigo to build a big halftime lead and the Red Robins held on to it for a 69-34 win on Monday night. 

The Maroons (1-2) shot 1-for-9 in the second quarter, Antigo started to heat up and that led to a 17-3 Red Robins run and a 32-13 lead at halftime. 

“I told our guys giving up 32 points in the half isn’t all that bad, but we can’t score 13,” Menominee coach Sam Larson said. “We have to get some better shots. We’re not really a strong three-point shooting team, but we got up a lot tonight and I thought we settled for OK shots when we could have gotten great ones.”

Menominee trailed 7-0 in the first minute of the game after Milo Wittman knocked down a 3-pointer and put back an offensive rebound and Antigo made another bucket. Larson then took a timeout to talk things over with his team and the Maroons responded. 

Brock Barrette knocked down a three for Menominee’s first points, Keagan Monroe made a layup and Tyler Kuester hit a corner triple to cut the deficit to 12-8. Brady Badker got the Maroons to within two with a basket inside, but Tanner Resch hit a 3-pointer for Antigo to take a 15-10 lead after one. 

“I thought the first minute of the game we came out very passive and timid,” Larson said. “After the timeout we kind of lit a little spark and I thought we really competed for the next seven minutes. And it always helps when you can knock down a few shots.”

The Red Robins started the second off with four straight points, but Kuester hit his second-triple of the game to get the score to 19-13. After a timeout, Antigo closed out the final four minutes of the half on a 13-0 run, using its defense to force turnovers and playing a cleaner game offensively. Monroe picked up his second foul early in the second quarter and was forced to go to the bench. He was part of the reason Menominee was so close, bothering Antigo in the paint and on the perimeter with his length.

““Our defensive intensity stayed high in the second but we didn’t make any shots the first couple minutes and we got a little gassed, they got some offensive rebounds and easy shots, we didn’t close out on shooters and things fell by the wayside,” Larson said. “Keagan picked up that foul and had to sit for a large portion and it hurts when he’s not out there. His defensive intensity was really good in the first quarter, he’s a long athletic kid and can alter shots. But that can get him into trouble and it did. If we can keep him out of foul trouble we’re much better off.”

Menominee’s guards had some troubles against the pressure of Antigo’s zone and run-and-jump trap defense, especially on the second-quarter run. The Red Robins forced the Maroons into 23 turnovers and when Menominee did break free, the shots just weren’t falling all night. Menominee shot 29 percent from the field (13-44) and 26 percent from 3-point range (6-23).

“We played spurts of really good basketball and spurts of really relaxed basketball,” Larson said. “We didn’t maintain the intensity and aggression and when you don’t do that against their 1-3-1 or run-and-jump, turnovers can come fast. We had 23 tonight and that’s way too many to win a basketball game. When you shoot 29 percent and have 23 turnovers, that’s not a good recipe for success.”

Monroe opened the second half with a pull-up jumper before Antigo scored the next 11 unanswered. Barrette broke up the run with a basket and Aidan Bellisle knocked down a three and hit a pull-up jumper of his own, but the deficit was still large at 45-22. 

Menominee shot its first free throws of the game with 2 minutes, 32 seconds left in the 4th quarter when Kuester went to the line for a 1-and-1 bonus situation. He made both to make it 61-31 and the game ended after Jayson Edginton sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key. 

“I thought we competed very hard tonight for the most part,” Larson said. “We didn’t throw in the towel at any point, we just have to be a little more physical and intense during the game.”

Kuester had 10 points and three rebounds to lead the Maroons; Bellisle had eight points, all in the second half, and three assists; Barrette had five points and six rebounds and Monroe had four points three assists and five boards.

Alec Hotchkiss and Resch led a very balanced Antigo attack with 13 points each; Wittman had 10; Sebastian Noskowiak had nine and Nevin Cornelius had eight. 

Menominee has a week before the team hosts North Central next Tuesday.