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Escanaba girls basketball falls to Sault Ste. Marie

SAULT STE. MARIE — After trailing by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, Escanaba girls basketball had Sault Ste. Marie in a 44-44 tie with under 40 seconds remaining.

The Eskymos couldn’t seal the deal, falling to 0-2 on the young season in a 47-44 road loss on Friday.

“We couldn’t overcome our slow start,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson said. “The Soo played with a lot of heart and passion. They’re a young team, and they outplayed us. They deserved (the win) more than we did.”

Trailing 26-19 at the half, Esky senior Keira Maki scored the third frame’s first basket with a layup. Moments later, Maki earned a steal and drove to the basket, cutting the deficit to 26-23.

The Blue Devils pushed their lead back to six points with a layup and free throw, but Maki connected in the paint once again to cut the lead to 29-25.

After a 5-0 Soo run, Maki ended the Eskymo’s cold streak with a free throw to pull back to within seven points.

Then Esky got points from other sources.

Junior Natalie Beauchamp connected with a hook shot inside the pain. Junior Emmerson Salo knocked down a free throw to pull Esky back to within four points after three quarters.

Maki connected with junior Grayson Lamarche inside the paint, capping off a 7-0 run to pull to 34-32 to start the fourth frame.

The Blue Devils clapped back with a 5-0 run to open their advantage back to seven. After each side scored three points, Maki caught fire again.

The senior connected in the paint, then earned a steal and drove to the basket for two more points. After a Soo layup, Maki connected with a pair of layups to pull to 44-41.

Then Morgan Maki made her presence felt.

The senior hit her lone shot of the night, but it was a crucial one which connected from 3-point range to tie the game at 44 late in the frame.

The Blue Devils responded by sprinting down the court for a quick layup to re-claim the lead at 46-44 with 55.8 seconds left.

Soo knocked down a free throw to open a three-point advantage. Esky had one last gasp at tying the game, but miscues at half court led to calamity and a Blue Devils win.

“I felt like we ran out of time,” Eskymos coach Tracy Hudson said. “We won three out of four quarters, but Soo made the hustle plays. “

For the second-straight game, the Eskymos found themselves trying to dig out of an early hole.

With the game tied 4-4 in the first, the Blue Devils mustered an 8-0 to go up 12-4. While a free throw from Keira Maki and LaMarche cut the deficit to six, the Blue Devils banked a 3-point shot at the buzzer to go up 15-6 after one.

Sault Ste. Marie opened the second quarter on a 5-2 run to open a 20-8 lead, but the Eskymos didn’t back down. With baskets from Keira Maki, juniors Katey Lamb and McKenzie Engebretson and free throws from LaMarche, the Eskymos rallied for a 9-6 run to close out the first half to pull to 26-19 at the break.

“We just got to move on,” Hudson said. “We’re going to take the weekend off and have a good practice on Monday. We got a couple of days to prepare for Bark River-Harris, and that’s not going to be easy.”

Kiera Maki earned a double-double with a team-best 19 points to go with 10 rebounds, six blocks, four steals and three assists. Lamarche also finished with a double-double, earning 10 points, 10 boards, one block, one steal and one helper. Lamb tallied five points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Beauchamp finished with four points, two rebounds and two steals. Morgan Maki tallied three points, but earned six boards and four steals. Engebretson earned two points and two rebounds. Salo earned nine steals to go with three helpers, two rebounds and one point. Clara Braun earned a steal.

The Eskymos host Bark River-Harris at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15th.

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