CARNEY - Carney-Nadeau was ripe for an upset, and the Stephenson boys' basketball team nearly pulled one off Monday night.
The Eagles led 33-31 halftime and trailed by one after three quarters. Austin Grinsteiner hit a 3-pointer and split two free throws, and the Eagles were within 52-50 with under three minutes remaining.
The Wolves dodged one bullet after another and escaped with a 59-54 win.
Jody Korch | Menominee EagleHerald
Keenan Lampinen of Carney-Nadeau tries to shoot around Stephenson’s Josh Eckert (23) during the first half Monday night at Carney.
"It's a credit to the kids to grind out the game," Wolves coach Jake Polfus said.
Coming off last week's season-opening 61-48 loss to North Central, the Eagles had their chances to knock off a defending Class D state semifinalist. But poor shooting (21 of 64 from the field) sank the Eagles. Stephenson effectively worked the ball inside for numerous point-blank range shots.
"And we missed 'em," Eagles coach Kurt Wangerin said. "That's the different in the ballgame, the bunnies."
Stephenson12 21 11 10 - 54
Carney-Nadeau16 15 14 14 - 59
STEPHENSON (54) - Joslin 7, Brock 2, Raboin 3, Wangerin 4, Wilson 11, Grinsteiner 27. FGs: 21-64; FTs: 10-14.
CARNEY-NADEAU (59) - Schertter 33, Lampinen 18, DuPont 1, Johnson 3, Blahnik 4. FGs: 20-58; FTs: 16-21.
3-pointers - Stephenson: Grinsteiner 2; Carney-Nadeau: Schetter 3, Lampinen 1
The Wolves (3-0) had their own shooting problems. Just three of 20 from 3-point range, Carney-Nadeau wisely drove to the basket and made 17 of 38 shots from inside the arc.
Senior guard Wade Schetter drove around and between defenders to attack the rim. He finished with 33 points.
"We didn't play the greatest, but sometimes you don't shoot well but you've got to grind," Schetter said. "I haven't been shooting well the first couple games so I went to the hole and tried to find my teammates."
Stephenson missed 10 of its first 11 shots, and the Wolves broke out to first-quarter leads of 11-5 and 16-12. Schetter's drive to the hole extended the lead to 21-12 before the Eagles battled back.
Grinsteiner (23 points) converted two straight three-point plays to cut the Wolves lead to 22-20. Junior guard Skyler Joslin provided a spark off the bench with seven second-quarter points to tie the game at 24. Grinsteiner scored in the final four seconds of the half to give the Eagles the lead.
In the third quarter, Stephenson capitalized on a size mismatch with 6-foot-4 senior Casey Wilson. He posted up for three third-quarter buckets and finished with 11 points.
Baskets by Grinsteiner and Wilson gave the Eagles a 40-36 lead with 3:27 in the third quarter.
"Stephenson had a very nice game plan," according to Polfus. "They looked to get the ball inside. We have to become better defending the inside."
Stephenson also gave the Wolves trouble with its speed, athleticism and uptempo pace.
"We weren't prepared for that much quickness and speed," Polfus said. "I thought we were slow getting back."
Schetter's basket off a drive to open the fourth quarter put the Wolves up 47-44. Keenan Lampinen also drove to the hole, then hit a rainbow 3-pointer for a 52-46 lead with 6:18 left.
Lampinen finished with 18 points.
The Eagles at least proved they could go toe-to-toe with a U.P. power.
"Half of it's believing in themselves," Wangerin said. "It's there if they're willimg to work together and believe in themselves."
Carney-Nadeau won the junior varsity game 52-33. Manual Duran led the Wolves with 20 points and Justin Ernest adde4d 12. Brandon Kau scored nine for the Eagles.