EagleHerald Sports Editor
MENOMINEE—A monster first quarter on both ends of the floor for the Menominee boys basketball team allowed the Maroons to build a big lead for the second straight game, only this time Menominee was able to hold on in the second half against Kingsford for a 54-38 Great Northern Confernce victory.
The Maroons (3-3 overall, 1-2 GNC) brought a lot of energy to start the game and their scrappy defense allowed them to break out in transition while forcing Kingsford into nearly 10 turnovers in the first half.
“Two games in a row now with really quick starts and that’s something we’ve emphasized now for the last week or so,” Menominee coach Sam Larson said. “Now we’re going to have to find a way to simulate the start of the second half to come out with that same energy because that’s where we’ve been lacking.”
Through the first two minutes of the game there was not a lot of action as Menominee took a 4-0 lead on a basket from Cooper Conway and a transition layup from Brady Badker.
Kingsford’s first basket came when Cole Bracket grabbed a defensive rebound and dribbled the full length of the court for a layup with around six minutes remaining in the first quarter.
From that point on, the Flivvers would not score until there was 15 seconds left in the quarter as Menominee scored the next 17 straight as Conway drilled a triple after a Kingsford turnover to give the Maroons a 21-2 lead.
The run was finally broken up by Brody Kopp’s only basket of the game, but the damage was done and Menominee ended the quarter with Badker being fouled on a drive with 0.7 seconds left and knocking down both free throws to lead 23-4 after the first.
“Hats off to Meonminee for coming out and getting after us right away and putting pressure on our guards,” Kingsford coach Dan Olkkonen said. “I’m just disappointed with the way we composed ourselves as a team after that opening quarter.”
Menominee’s lead hovered around 20-points throughout the second quarter after Kingsford switched to a zone defense and the Maroons started to miss some good looks inside and play with a little more hesitation.
Kingsford scored 10 points in the second, but still weren’t able to control the ball long enough as Menominee’s defensive pressure never let up.
The Flivvers were able to string together two straight baskets late in the quarter as Bracket and Nick Nora cut the deficit to 32-14, but Menominee ended the final 1:27 with free throws from Badker, a layup from Bellisle and one free throw from Trevor Theuerkauf to head into the half leading 37-14.
Menominee took its biggest lead of the night midway through the third quarter when Conway dropped in a 3-pointer to take a 44-18 advantage, but the Maroons went cold from the floor the rest of the quarter, scoring just two points on free throws to hold a 46-30 lead.
The Maroons scored just 17 points in the second half to Kingsford’s 24. Conway and Badker each led Menominee with 15 points and Conway added 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double. Bellisle added 13 points and six assists.
For Kingsford, Bracket led all scorers with 16 points while Zach Person added nine.
KINGSFORD (38)—Bracket 16, Person 9, Nora 4, Paupore 3, Carollo 2, Kopp 2, Weber 2. FTs: 7-13.
MENOMINEE (54)—Conway 15, Badker 15, Bellisle 13, Schultz 6, Theuerkauf 3, Starzynski 2. FTs: 14-22.