Boys Basketball: Neguanee rolls past Hancock, 70-31

Hancock's Gabe Smith (20) shoots over Negaunee's Jakson Sager (2) on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Hancock, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — The Negaunee Miners boys basketball team came to town on Monday and did what they do best – win basketball games. They defeated the Hancock Bulldogs easy handily with a 70-31 win. It was their ninth win in their perfect season so far.

The Miners quickly poured in a 8-0 lead as they dominated the inside game banking shots off the glass. Hancock’s Elijah Packard broke the ice for the Bulldogs at the 5:50 mark. It was all the Bulldogs managed in the first eight minutes as the Miners took an 18-3 lead into the second quarter.

The Miner’s tough man-to-man defense left the Bulldogs with little time or space to set up any offense.

“Night in and night out, our defense is what wins our games,” Negaunee head coach Dan Waterman said. “Tonight it gave the other team fits and we were able to establish a big early lead.”

Hancock gave up too many turnovers often on errant or telegraphed passes. They were hurried in their shooting and absent in their rebounding. At halftime, they were down by 21 with a 36-15 Negaunee lead.

Having yet to win a game this season, games against an older and more experienced Negaunee team could be a source of frustration for Bulldog’s head coach Matt Strong. However, Strong is one who would prefer to find a silver string out of such games.

On Monday, the silver lining was Hancock’s defense.

“Early on we were able to play with them and keep them at bay, but then there would be a breakdown and they’d come on in,” Strong said. “Our communication has got to get better.”

In the third and fourth periods the pace was much the same as Negaunee continued to dominate.

The Miners’ defense forced Hancock to put up a number low percentage shots that bounced off the rim or even missed it all together. While the Bulldogs were get one shot and were out rebounded, the Miners were able to put up two or three.

Jason Waterman led the scoring for the Miners with 19. Lindberg followed him with 10 points of his own. Carson Chynoweth led Hancock with 11 points.

With more than a 30-point lead as the game wound down, Waterman was able to play a number of his second-string players and was quite pleased with what he saw.

“I liked the intensity they brought to the floor,” he said. “I say that that is the price of admission in our program. You have to play hard if you want to get in the game at Negaunee and those kids did.”

The Bulldogs will travel to Calumet on Thursday to face the Copper Kings.

Negaunee 18 18 18 16 — 70

Hancock 3 12 6 10 — 31

NEGAUNEE: (70) Waterman 19, Sager 6, Lindberg 10, DuShane 7, Kumpula 3, Jacobetti 5, Munson 7, Brundage 5, Luke 6, Abbott 2. 3-point FG: 1 (Brundage) F: 19. FT: 9-14.

HANCOCK: (31) Chynoweth 11, Packard 7, Issacson 2, Smith 4, Raasio 7. 3-point FG: 2 (Smith, 1 Packard 1). F: 10. FT: 7-14.