EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Hand down, man down
Menominee’s Brock Barrette attempts a 3-pointer while Wabeno/Laona’s Connor Taylor tries to put a hand in his face during Saturday’s game in Menominee.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Hand down, man down

Menominee’s Brock Barrette attempts a 3-pointer while Wabeno/Laona’s Connor Taylor tries to put a hand in his face during Saturday’s game in Menominee.

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MENOMINEE — Keagan Monroe had 22 points, eight rebounds and six steals against Wabeno/Laona on Saturday to lead the Menominee boys basketball to its third win of the season.

Leading by two at halftime, Menominee played one of its best defensive games of the season in a 46-37 home triumph over the Rebels.

“We’ve been due for one and it feels great for the guys, it means a lot to get a win for them,” Menominee coach Sam Larson said. “I’m proud of them, I thought we played hard for a majority of the game and I thought our defensive intensity was a lot higher than it was in previous games and that led to a lot of our offense.

“In the first half a lot of our offense was predicated on our defense forcing (Wabeno) into turnovers and getting fastbreak and transition points.”

Monroe scored 12 straight points for Menominee in the first quarter, including a breakaway dunk after a steal and Keaton Uecke ended the quarter with a steal and fastbreak layup to help Menominee take a 16-11 to start the second.

“With his length and athleticism, he can really create some havoc on the defensive end and he did a good job of that tonight,” Larson said.

A few breakdowns defensively to start the second quarter allowed Wabeno/Laona to go on a 6-0 run and take the lead at 17-16 on a drive to the hoop from Connor Taylor.

Menominee had a shot to take the lead just before halftime and though an initial shot was missed, Sartorelli was waiting under the hoop and the putback gave the Maroons a 24-22 lead at the half.

“We talked a little bit at halftime about making some adjustments to our 2-3 zone,” Larson said. “We noticed (Wabeno/Laona) was overloading it so we tried to change and communicate a little better out of that. Offensively, we were able to attack their 3-2 zone and get the ball to Keagan in the high post a little bit more and he did a good job of scoring and distributing from that point.”

Freshman Aidan Bellisle knocked down a corner jumper for the Maroons but Jesse Pakulski answered with a basket down low to head into the fourth quarter with a 34-26 deficit.

Monroe scored six straight points to start the fourth quarter and then found Barrette wide open on the wing for a 3-pointer as Menominee extended its lead to 43-26 and forced Wabeno/Laona into a timeout with 5:22 remaining in the game. The Maroons took its biggest lead of the game with another Barrette 3-pointer after Bellisle dribbled the ball around and wasted some clock, capping off a 12-2 run to start the quarter.

“We said (in the huddle before the start of the fourth) that in the first two minutes we need to end this, put this game out of reach and we need to do it with our defensive intensity,” Larson said. “And the guys did that. They came out and I thought we were really active in our zone, in man-to-man they were getting up and pressuring a lot so I was really happy with that.”

Wabeno/Laona tried to make things interesting in the final four minutes.

The Rebels held Menominee scoreless but couldn’t get the shots to fall. The team got to 46-37 with a 3-pointer from Reed Christianson with 1:21 remaining but missed the front end of a bonus with 52 seconds left and Menominee dribbled out the clock to end the game.

Backing up Monroe’s 22 points was Bellisle and Sartorelli with eight points each.

For Wabeno/Laona, Jacob Christianson led the way with 12 points; Reed Christianson had nine and Taylor, Pakulski and Baylen Caley chipped in six each.

“Coming into the game, we knew from going to scout them that both of (Wabeno/Laona’s) freshman (Taylor and R. Christianson) were really good young players so we knew to key on them,” Larson said. “I thought Keagan did a nice job on Connor, we had a couple breakdowns but holding him to six was huge.”

Menominee (3-11 overall, 0-5 GNC) hosts Crandon on Tuesday and Escanaba on Wednesday in a Great Northern Conference makeup game.