Tough defense keys Redettes to 43-40 win over Houghton

MARQUETTE — Marquette scored a 43-40 girls basketball victory over Houghton at home Thursday night to avenge a double-overtime loss to the Gremlins earlier this month.

The Redettes also handed Houghton, the No. 1 Class ABC team in the Upper Peninsula, its first loss of the season as it now stands at 18-1. Marquette, the No. 4 ABC team this week, improved to 16-2.

The Redettes held on after scoring just 11 points in the second half. Head coach Ben Smith said his team had to grind out the victory on the other side of the ball.

“We had to dig in and play hard defensively,” Smith said. “Usually our game plan isn’t to score so little in the second half, but if we hold one of the best teams in the U.P. to eight points a quarter in the second half, you’re putting yourself in great position to win.”

It was a career night for the Gremlins’ Sloane Zenner, who scored her 1,000th point with 2:13 left in the opening quarter.

Houghton head coach Julie Filpus said it was a proud achievement for the team’s senior leader.

“It was a special moment,” Filpus said. “She knew it was coming, but wasn’t sure when it would. It was nice for her to hit her first shot and get past it, but she’s definitely put the time in to earn it.

“Our team goes however she does, and it’s been that way all season. She can score and defend at any time, and she’s our top player.”

The basket for Zenner ended a 7-0 Marquette run, and after a pause in play as the spectators gave Zenner a standing ovation, momentum seemed to sway in Houghton’s favor.

Zenner followed with a midcourt steal and returned it for a layup, as the Gremlins put together their own 7-0 run going into the second quarter to cut Marquette’s lead to 14-11.

Then the Redettes responded with nine straight points from Claudia Hale and Amber Huebner, then scored the final seven points of the first half to give Marquette a 32-24 lead at the break.

Both defenses clamped down to start the second half, with neither team scoring for three minutes coming out of the locker room.

Marquette started putting together longer possessions, opening the floor and keeping the ball from the Gremlins.

Stasha Warchock nailed a long 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the third to give Marquette its first double-digit lead, 37-27, but the Gremlins scored five quick points in the closing seconds of the quarter to make it just a five-point game headed to the fourth.

Smith said the Gremlins defense was running the same attack that has put them amongst the top of the U.P. all season.

“Houghton was playing a lot of straight man defense and were guarding hard,” Smith said. “We couldn’t convert a few of our good plays. We had to get easier buckets off our defense’s transition.”

With 3 seconds remaining, Zenner had a chance to top off her special night with a wide open triple to tie the game, but couldn’t get it to fall.

Smith said the win showed great resilience for his team as it enters the final week of the regular season.

“It was a good sign as we get toward the end of the year,” Smith said. “There’s so many situations toward the end of a game we can talk about in practice, but might not be able to remember them come game time.

“It was a bit of a weird situation, and it wasn’t pretty, but we did a lot of good that we can look back on and build off.”

Hale led Marquette with 13 points, while Huebner scored 11 points and led the Redettes with eight rebounds.

MSHS travels to Negaunee on Tuesday before wrapping up its regular season on Thursday hosting Menominee.

Marquette 43, Houghton 40

Summary (field goals, free throws, total points)

HOUGHTON — Dillinger 2-3-8; Ryynanen 1-0-2; Zenner 6-0-12; C. Monette 0-2-2; K. Monette 2-0-4; Froberg 4-0-11; Pietila 0-1-1. Totals 15-6-40.

MARQUETTE — Huebner 5-1-11; Peterson 1-0-3; Hale 5-0-13; Bulinski 1-0-2; Grange 2-2-6; Ledy 2-0-4; Warchock 1-2-4. Totals 17-5-43.

Score by quarters:

Houghton 12 12 8 8 — 40

Marquette 11 21 5 6 — 43

FG shooting: Houghton 11 of 22 (50 percent); Marquette 17 of 36 (47 percent); FT shooting: Houghton 6 of 9 (33.3 percent); Marquette 5 of 11 (45.4 percent); Rebounding, Houghton 15 (Morgan Colling and Harlee Forberg, 4 each); Marquette 20 (Amber Huebner 8).