Esky girls hoops earns thrilling overtime win over Marquette

“The Big Dog” Mitch Vosburg Daily Press Escanaba senior Keira Maki (12) celebrates an overtime win over Marquette with the rest of the Escanaba girls’ basketball team on Jan. 31, 2024 at Escanaba High School.

ESCANABA — It’s a Great Northern Conference basketball game. Of course it went into overtime.

Escanaba girls basketball claimed not only its fourth-straight win and its sixth in its last seven games, but improved to 3-1 in GNC play with a 50-47 win over Marquette on Wednesday.

“You fight for one another when you’re a close knit team, and I think I saw that tonight,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson said. “It was a GNC battle. Even though the record may not represent it, I feel like the GNC teams are all playing pretty well.”

Trailing 47-46 with 2:06 to go in extra time, the ball went into the hands of Eskymos junior center Grayson Lamarche. Although she was bogged down due to Marquette’s height and length, she connected in the paint and drew a foul with 1:49 to go. Lamarche made the free throw for a 49-47 lead.

Esky (7-6, 3-1) continued to clamp down on defense, especially when senior Keria Maki earned a steal with 1:25 to go. The Eskymos then played keep away from the team which wore black and red jerseys (2-9, 1-3) on Wednesday night in hopes of bleeding out the clock or drawing a foul.

What ensued instead was chaos. The ball squirted free with both Esky and Marquette battling for possession. Eskymos junior Clara Braun secured the loose ball and drew a foul with 36.5 seconds left.

Braun sank the first free throw. And though she missed the second shot from the line, Esky’s advantage ballooned to 50-47.

The Eskymos continued to suffocate the team which wore black and red jerseys on Wednesday night. Marquette heaved a shot with three seconds to go, but it was no good for the Eskymo win.

“Our biggest key tonight was to put pressure on them,” Hudson said. “We did not want them to get comfortable. We wanted to pressure them to create turnovers and to create havoc. We didn’t want vision to their (post players) inside. Wherever the ball was, we wanted pressure. and I think we we got enough pressure where we got enough turnovers to make the difference.”

Marquette’s journey to overtime, however, seemed somewhat improbable for most of the game. Esky’s 1-3-1 zone proved to be problematic. The Eskymos’ backcourt led the charge in creating pressure to claim a 35-29 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Then Lamarche began to generate success in the paint to take a 39-32 lead with 6:37 to go.

Then Marquette began to find a rhythm.

Junior Aubree Blackburn converted a 3-point play with 6:08 to go. Senior Kyley Elmblad split a pair of free throws with 5:12 remaining and scored in the paint to pull to 39-38 with 3:41 to go.

Blackburn split another pair from the line for a 39-39 tie with 2:22 to go.

The team which wore black and red jerseys on Wednesday night continued to drive to the hoop. Elmblad knocked down a pair of gifters for a 41-39 lead with 1:29 to go.

Down to its final few possessions of regulation, Esky called on Maki once again. The senior drove to the hole and drew a foul and a chance to tie the game by making both of her free throws.

Then she missed the first shot. And while she made the second, Esky trailed 41-40 with 12.4 remaining.

The Eskymos fouled Blackburn with 10.4 to go. Similar to Maki two seconds prior, she split the pair of free shots to give Marquette a 42-20 lead.

Then Maki got her hands on the ball. And with 5.5 seconds remaining, she delicately rolled the ball into the net to tie the game at 42 and force overtime.

Maki then added the first basket of overtime on a putback and struck inside again for a 46-45 lead with 2:54 to go.

“We made enough plays where we could have come out on the right end, but just not enough,” Marquette coach Ben Smith said. ” We didn’t finish at the line like we needed to, necessarily, and we put them on the line at the end. They split a pair, and then the last time… I kind of wished we would have made (Maki) try and make two at the line to win instead of having her squirt through and make (a layup) with (5.5) seconds to go.”

Maki finished with 18 points, six rebounds, five blocks, four steals and three assists. Lamarche finished with 10 points and a pair of rebounds, blocks and steals while adding an assist.

The Eskymos have limited time to celebrate their seventh win of the season. No. 5 Houghton rolls into town on Thursday with a triple-header of action beginning at 4 p.m.

Box Score

Escanaba 14 13 8 7 8 – 50

Marquette 6 13 10 13 5 – 47

Escanaba – K. Maki 18, Lamarche 10, Lamb 9, Braun 4, M. Maki 4, Salo 3, Engebretson 2; FT: 8-12; Fouls: 11; Fouled Out: Salo; 3-pointers: Salo 1, K. Maki 1, Braun 1, Engebretson 1

Marquette – Blackburn 20, Elmblad 15, Anderson 7, Curran 3, Maskart 2; FT: 9-16; Fouls: 9; Fouled Out: none; 3-pointers: Anderson 1, Blackburn 1


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