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Gauthier’s free throws lift Eskymo girls past Negaunee

NEGAUNEE — An effective zone defense and Taylor Gauthier’s clutch free throws lifted the  Escanaba girls’ basketball team to a 38-37 upset win Tuesday night at Negaunee.

Gauther stepped to the free-throw line and buried both free throws off a one-on-one with 20 seconds left to give Esky its winning margin.

“She missed two free throws in the third quarter,” Esky coach Mike Beveridge said. “She stepped up calmly to the free-throw line and made the first one and made the second one.”

Seniors Jen Brandt (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Maddy Willis (13 points, six rebounds) led the way for the Eskymos (2-1) in the non-league game.

Maddy Theut also dished off six assists, point guard Lexi Chaillier scored six points and Gauthier grabbed five rebounds in a starting role.

Esky trailed 20-17 at halftime and 26-23 after three quarters before outscoring the Miners 15-11 in the fourth quarter.

At halftime, Beveridge challenged the 6-foot-3 Brandt, who scored 10 second-half points

Aleda Johnson led Negaunee with 17 points.

“It’s a big upset because Negaunee was expecting a victory tonight,” Beveridge said. “They had a lot of returnees, but my girls rose to the occasion and believed in themselves. It was a good team win.”

Esky, which lost the jayvee game 51-30, travels to Marquette Thursday for its Great Northern Conference opener.

Escanaba     10  7  6   15 – 38

Negaunee      5  15  6  11 – 37

Escanaba — Theut 2, Willis 13, Barron 1, Gauthier 2, Chaillier 6, Brandt 14. FT: 5-10; F: 12; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Willis 1.

Negaunee — C. Johnson 7, A. Johnson 17, Fezatt 5, Jacobson 2, Nelson 6. FT: 5-12; F: 14; Fouled out: A. Johnson; 3-point field goals: C. Johnson 1; A. Johnson 2, Nelson 1.

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