Too much strength

Esky uses physicality to dominate Maroons

Austin Hemmingson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Craig Kamin (14) goes up for a shot against Menominee defenders Brock Barrette (20) and Aidan Bellisle (21) Wednesday at Escanaba. Kamin scored 23 points in a 77-51 Esky win.

ESCANABA — For one half of play Wednesday, it looked like Menominee had figured something out against Escanaba. But in the second half, the Eskymos used their speed and physicality to separate from the Maroons in a 77-51 victory in a Great Northern Conference boys’ game.

The Eskymos (5-4, 3-1 GNC) led just 32-30 at the half after the Maroons closed the second quarter on a 13-3 run.

“I thought they (Maroons) played great in the first half,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson said. “In some aspects, they outplayed us. This was kind of a trap game for us playing against a team we’re supposed to beat. We weren’t connected early offensively.”

After the Maroons (1-7) scored the first bucket of the second half to tie the score, it was all Esky from that point forward. The Eskymos scored eight of the next 12 points before they really began to pull away.

Holding a 40-36 lead, Esky went on a 16-4 run before Menominee’s Aidan Bellisle stopped the bleeding with a triple right before the third quarter buzzer. Escanaba entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 56-43 lead and outscored the Maroons 21-8 in the final frame. The Eskymos used their physicality to grab 48 rebounds and finished with 30 free throw attempts, making 20.

“We played really well on defense in the second half,” Hudson said. “They shoot the three well so we played man against them this time.”

Craig Kamin and Jared Nash led the up-tempo style for the Eskymos, who went to a half-court trap in the second half to force the Maroons into turnovers and get easy buckets in transition.

Kamin finished with 23 points and went 8-of-13 at the charity stripe, while Nash scored 22 and grabbed 17 boards.

“I thought Jared played his best game of the season,” Hudson said. “He did a lot of damage on the baseline and driving with the basketball. I didn’t know what I was going to get from Kamin. He’s nursing an ankle injury and was limited in practice but I thought he played great. I thought he did a really good job of pushing the ball in transition.

“The other player I want to point out is Austin Willette. He did a great job talking and being a defensive leader for us, particulary in the first half. It might not show up in his points but I thought he played an excellent game.

“Those three guys — Jared Nash, Craig Kamin and Austin Willette — were all great leaders tonight. They took charge of this game at halftime and weren’t going to let us lose.”

The Maroons, who trailed 19-10 at the end of the first quarter, fought back in the second period to make it a game before running out of steam.

“I thought that group we had out there at the end of the second quarter played with a lot of grit,” Maroons’ coach Sam Larson said.

“We got a lot fast-break layups and easy buckets. I thought we started really sharp.

“The problem was we shot 32 percent. You can’t win against anybody shooting that percentage. In the second half, I thought we dropped off physically and didn’t match their physicality. We gave up 17 offensive rebounds, compared to the first half when we were getting the offensive rebounds. We got a little tentative offensively when they started applying pressure and I thought Kamin did a very nice job getting into the paint for them.”

Brock Barrette and Keagan Monroe led the Maroons with 14 points each.

The Eskymos, who won the jayvee game 67-35, visit Manistique tonight.

Menominee 10 20 13 8 — 51

Escanaba 19 13 24 21 — 77

Menominee — Monroe 14, Barrette 14, Badker 7, Kuester 5, Bellisle 5, Uecke 2, Spegel 2, Sartorelli 2. F: 19; FT: 6-9; Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Barrette 2, Badker, Kuester, Bellisle.

Escanaba — Kamin 23, Nash 22, Fedell 6, Hudson 6, Willette 6, LaMarche 3, Willis 3, Rose 3, Johnson 3, Seymour 2. F: 15; FT: 20-30; Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Kamin, LaMarche, Rose.