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Gladstone girls stun Maroons

MENOMINEE — Alaina Trudeau hit a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to give Gladstone the lead and Andie Balenger made two free throws to clinch a 40-36 Great Northern Conference girls basketball win here Tuesday.

Menominee led by one entering the final quarter and the two teams traded baskets until a floater from Erin Barrette gave Menominee a 36-35 lead with just under five minutes remaining.

That score stood until there was under a minute to play and Menominee lost control of the ball out of bounds and Gladstone gained possession.

Trailing 36-35 with 46 seconds left, the Braves worked the ball around against Menominee’s 1-3-1 zone until a skip pass found Trudeau open on the wing with a clean look at the basket and she delivered what would be the game winning shot.

“Something that we’ve been working on a ton is fake a pass to make a pass; get them off their feet, penetrate and make those skip passes. We say every day at practice to find the open girl because teams like to pack it in on us when Megan (Crow) is in there and they double team so someone is always open and we did that in the end and found Alaina on that play for an open shot,” Gladstone coach Andy Cretens said.

The Braves jumped out to an early 6-2 lead with the Maroons first basket coming with under four minutes to play on Josie Hofer’s baseline shot. Gladstone grew its lead to 10-2 before Emma Anderson finished the quarter 4-of-4 at the free throw line to trail 10-6 at the end of the first.

With Gladstone leading 15-11 with 3:24 to play before halftime, Makenzie Wellner scored a basket inside to spark a 9-0 for the Maroons. Sarah Barrette followed with a 3-pointer and Anderson scored two straight buckets to give Menominee a 20-15 advantage with 1:46 remaining. Megan Crow stopped the run with a putback on an offensive rebound for Gladstone and Trudeau got open against the 1-3-1 zone for a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 21-20 before halftime.

Gladstone was all over the boards in the first half, especially on the offensive end, and that led to second chance points in big situations. The Braves outrebounded the Maroons 33-26 in the game, with Megan Crow leading the way with 12 (three offensive) and Marnnea LaFave grabbing four offensive rebounds as well. Crow led all scorers in the game as well with 14 points.

“We’ve struggled with second chance points and points off of turnovers lately,” Cretens said. “We talked about that in practice and we’ve been trying to focus on that. Marnnea and Megan did a great job on the boards tonight and all the girls really took that to heart and brought the intensity on defense and hit the offensive glass.”

The Maroons had a lot of open looks in the first half but just couldn’t capitalize on them. Menominee shot 6-35 (17 percent) with the majority of the misses coming right around the rim. That lingered all game as the Maroons finished 13-59 (22 percent) and 2-17 (11 percent) from 3-point range.

“Sometimes I think we’re just not patient enough at times, I think we tend to press ourselves a little too much and then we settle for one pass and shot a lot,” Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard said. “The message during our first timeout was to be more patient, work the ball around and shots will present themselves and that’s when we started to get loose down low and get open shots. But the story of the night is if you shoot 20 percent you’re not going to win many games. We were given those open shots we want we just couldn’t make them.”

Gladstone tied it at 21 when Balenger split a pair of free throws to open the third quarter and the teams traded baskets until Menominee scored four straight points on an Arikah Bellisle putback and Erin Barrette drive to the hoop to take a 29-25 lead with under a minute to play in the third.

The Braves came down the court and entered the ball into Crow in the high post against the zone of Menominee and Trudeau got free again for another 3-pointer before the end of the quarter to trim the lead down to 29-28 heading into the fourth. Trudeau finished the game with 11 points and was 3-3 from behind the 3-point line, each of them coming towards the end of the quarter to get her team within one point or take the lead.

“We know that teams are going to try and take away Megan when they go into zones and (Menominee) did a good job of that,” Cretens said. “At halftime we talked about moving our shooters into some better spots and got them to see different angles to passing lanes and the girls did a great job with it in the second half.”

Anderson led Menominee with 10 points and 10 rebounds; Erin Barrette had six points and three rebounds and Jenna Nolde added five points.

“We had key stretches defensively where we struggled and they got some open shots against our zone, so credit to them for hitting open shots,” Chouinard said. “Ball movement for us was good, but the shots just weren’t falling. We have to do a better job of recognizing that and trying to make something else happen and we just kept trying to shoot our way out of it. In the fourth quarter we had a couple nice layup looks but the ball just wasn’t falling for us tonight.”

Menominee (10-4 overall, 1-2 GNC) hosts Marquette Friday and Gladstone (2-7, 1-4) hosts Manistique Thursday.

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