By Tom Kaeser
MENOMINEE - Something had to give in Monday's girls' matchup between Menominee and Escanaba and the Maroons weren't going to give any ground in their Great Northern Conference opener.
Menominee became the first team to hold the Eskymos under 40 points in a 47-30 victory.
"We've focused all year on playing solid defense," coach Lucas Chouinard said. "The last few games we've struggled offensively. The girls did a good job of keeping the game plan when our shots weren't falling."
Quantity trumped quality on the offensive end for Menominee as it used its might on the offensive glass to offset long cold snaps from the floor.
Escanaba 7 7 6 10 - 30
Menominee 9 12 14 12 - 47
ESCANABA (30) - Collins 6, Cook 2, Gafner 5, Strahl 2, Connor 3, LaFave 12. FTs: 13-22.
MENOMINEE (47) - Simmons 4, Owens 8, Barley 10, Christian 12, Stewart 7, Anderla 2, Pedersen 4. FTs: 3-10.
The Maroons fired up 20 shots in the first eight minutes but just managed a 9-7 lead.
Menominee forced Esky into six turnovers and a 2 of 12 shooting slump while breaking out to a 21-14 halftime lead.
After missing six of their first eight shots in the second quarter, the Maroons found the soft spots in the Esky zone for an 8-3 closing run.
Allison Barley buried a perimeter shot and followed an Esky turnover with a 10-foot swish to jack the lead to 17-11.
Paige Owens connected from the right baseline and Ali Christian swiped the ball, dished to Amanda Pedersen, who fed Barley for another outside basket to hike the margin to 21-12 with nine seconds left in the half.
Menominee sank just 10 of 34 chances in the first half while Esky misfired on 18 of its 22 tries.
"A bad night. Flat," Escanaba coach Dena Fedell said. "We fast-break a lot but we couldn't get anything going tonight. We were flat from the first quarter to the end. We played their game."
After missing six of its first seven shots in the third period, the Maroons caught fire for a game-breaking flurry.
Christian pumped in a pair of 3-pointers and Owens delivered from the lane. An Owens rebound capped a 9-1 run and gave Menominee a 35-20 lead with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Maroons buried 6 of 12 shots in the third quarter and pestered the Eskymos into nine turnovers.
"It seems like our scoring comes in streaks," Chouinard said. "That's why our defense has to be consistent for all four quarters and we did that tonight."
Pedersen ripped down 10 rebounds and Amanda Simmons had five as Menominee hammered the Eskymos 36-26 on the boards, highlighted by 12 offensive rebounds.
The Eskymos opened the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run to trim the deficit to 37-30 with five minutes remaining.
Senior center Michelle LaFave popped in a 3-pointer, muscled in an inside shot and sank two free throws during the rally.
Menominee grabbed the momentum back with a game-clinching 10-point surge. Barley drilled in a pair of 3-balls and Christian sailed in for a layup and dished to Allia Stewart for a layup to pad the margin to 47-30.
Christian led the Maroons (6-2, 1-0 GNC) with 12 points, Barley had 10 and Owens added eight.
LaFave led Esky (5-5 overall, 1-2 GNC) with 12 points and 13 rebounds.