ESCANABA - Sometimes, one bad quarter can decide an entire game.
That was the case for the Escanaba Eskymos (2-3) Thursday, as they fell 49-38 to the Ishpeming Hematites (3-2).
The Hematites wasted no time as Gabby Croley put in the first bucket of the game, then Jordann Grigg stole the ball and brought it in for a layup. A 4-0 deficit was amplified by a deep three-pointer from Alesha O'Brien, and before they knew what happened, the Eskymos were in a 7-0 hole.
Holly Richer | Daily Press
Escanaba’s Jessica Beauchamp, left, and Michelle LaFave battle for a rebound with Ishpeming’s Gabby Croley during the second quarter at Escanaba Thursday. Escanba’s Zoe Berquist (34) looks on. Ishpeming won 49-38.
Holly Richer | Daily Press
Kamille Fritz of Escanaba drives to the basket around Ishpeming’s Kaylie Engler during the fourth quarter at Escanaba Thursday.
However, Escanaba's Michelle LaFave was undaunted by the Ishpeming run. The Eskymos began to move the ball around well, and found LaFave on the wing, and she answered O'Brien's three. On the very next possession, she knocked down another triple from the same spot, and the Eskymos were right back in it.
Escanaba and Ishpeming exchanged baskets, and then O'Brien knocked down another long three-pointer.
"Both teams had a lot of energy, which is really good considering only one day of rest for both teams," said Escanaba coach Kelly O'Connell. "It was definitely an entertaining first quarter."
Ishpeming 14 11 13 11 - 49
Escanaba 12 5 8 13 - 38
Ishpeming: Spencer 14, O'Brien 12, Simula 2, Olson 5, Grigg 4, T. Croley 2, G. Croley 10; FT: 15-23; F: 13; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: O'Brien 3, Olson 1
Escanaba: Jenshak 1, Cook 4, Gafner 1, Berquist 6, Fritz 4, LaFave 22; FT: 9-11; F: 15; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: LaFave 3
The Hematites headed into the second quarter grasping to just a 14-12 lead. But a lack of offensive flow by the Eskymos would give Ishpeming a bit more padding at the half.
"In the second quarter, we were just two for 11 shooting," O'Connell said. we had about four or five turnovers that kind of hurt us. We had a little mental lapse.
"We seem to have one quarter offensively in every game so far that we kind of bog down a little bit, and we have girls that are logging a lot of minutes. A few of our turnovers are fatigue turnovers. But we're making some strides, and every game we get better."
Ishpeming outscored the Eskymos 11-5 in the second, but the score was only 25-17 at the half. Both teams seemed a little impatient on the offensive side of the ball, and it was still anyone's game heading into the second half.
Neither team shot exceptionally well in the third, but second chance attempts by Ishpeming that came from offensive rebounding and Escanaba turnovers allowed them to top the Eskymos 13-8 to head into the fourth with a 13 point advantage.
Escanaba may have been down, but none of them played like they were out. LaFave entered the fourth quarter with 15 points, but she would add to that quickly. She began the quarter with a quick layup, and then nailed another triple on the next play. The Eskymos were now only down by eight points. However, Ishpeming played as though they were aware of the situation, and managed the clock well, chewing up enough time to force Escanaba into fouling.
The Hematites made it to the free throw line enough to ensure the 49-38 victory.
"It was a game of spurts," said Ishpeming coach Mark Dellangelo. "We did some good things for a few minutes, and then we had some lulls there. But give Escanaba credit; they knocked down some shots that we didn't defend really well, and they've got some good players on that team."
Dellangelo said he felt his team gave a good overall effort, and although they are just 3-2, he likes the direction they are heading.
"We're still early in the season," he added. "There's some growing pains that we have to go through, but I thought my team played rather well. The motto of our team all year has been that if they just work hard, good things will happen."
Although O'Connell's team fell to 2-3, he had nothing but good things to say about his squad.
"I couldn't be more proud of the effort that my girls put forth in all five games we've played," he said. "We've come out and competed and played hard."
The Eskymos' jayvees won 37-23.
Escanaba resumes Tuesday at Houghton, while Ishpeming is off until Jan. 2, when they head to Gwinn.