THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Young Marines Hold On in Season Opener
Marinette opened up their 2016-17 season at home against a tough Green Bay East team. With a new coach, just two seniors and plenty of underclassmen on their roster, it is unclear what to expect from the Marines. Thursday evening, Marine fans saw a Marinette squad full of energy and fire.
The first half was played as a usual season opener is, plenty of turnovers and missed shots. After the six minutes of play, East held a 3-1 lead. After a basket by the Red Devils, Jordan Miller drained a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 5-4.
Marinette found themselves in the double bonus with 8:36 remaining in the first half. Head Coach Bob Smith says that will be a familiar sight for Marine fans, "That's going to be our mantra, we're going to take it to them no matter how big or small, I don't care."
Katelyn Kitzinger sank two free throws to tie the game at 10-10 before Miller connected on a short jumper giving Marinette a 12-10 lead. Consecutive baskets from Madylinn Sims stretched the Marine lead to 19-15 but Rachel Gamelin of East scored as the clock expired. Marinette went into the half with a 19-17 lead.
"First game jitters. At halftime I reminded the girls it's just basketball, it's just a game." Smith added, "We need to come out and play hard because the first half is over."
Star Brantley sank one of her four three pointers to open the second half claiming the lead for the Red Devils. The Marines responded with an 11-0 run as Miller drilled back-to-back jumpers followed two baskets from Alexa Pristelski, one of which was behind the arc. East didn't go away though as they answered with their own 6-0 run to cut the lead back to 30-27, Marines.
Megan Suhs connected on a short jumper to end the Red Devil run, but East came right back at it with a 10-0 run claiming a 37-32 advantage. Pristelski and McKenzie Bebo each hit a three pointer as Marinette then took a 38-37 lead.
Arian Pugh, of East, showed off her speed scoring on a fast break layup that put the score at 48-46 in favor of Marinette. From there, Marinette went on a crucial 7-0 run with just four minutes remaining to claim a 55-47 advantage.
Brantley's short jumper trimmed the lead to 56-51, but the hustle of the Marines paid off. Brookelyn Peterson leaped out of bounds to save the possession for Marinette. In mid-air, Peterson found Pristelski wide open under the basket for an easy basket. East didn't quit, answering with three straight points to cut it to 58-54 but the clock ran out. Marinette won 58-54 in a thrilling season opener.
"I'm hoping this will be the ultimate motivator. Even though they will be tired and sore I hope they come tomorrow with the same type of work at practice," Coach Smith said.
Pristelski paced the Marines with 13 points as Miller also added 12. Bebo and Sims each pitched in with nine. Brantley led Green Bay East with 20 points.
"I'm hoping this means the future is bright. We have a good group of girls. But those younger girls, I think a lot of the pressure is off of them because our seniors told them they can handle this, they can do it and they have faith in each other," Smith said when asked about the youth of his team.