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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Maroons Advance to The Final Four

Issue Date: March 28, 2022

MHSAA Boys Basektball

The Menominee Maroons are headed to the Breslin Center as one of the top four teams in Division 3 after a commanding 70-39 quarterfinal win over Grayling on Tuesday.

Menominee's pressure smothered Grayling, growing in importance as the game went on. After one quarter, the teams were tied at 12, with Grayling's Matt Pittman hitting a pair of 3-pointers to keep his team in it.

The second quarter was all Menominee. The Maroons outscored Grayling 24-3 with stifling defense that led to offense on the other end.

Menominee coach Sam Larson said before the game that playing solid defense was a key to the game.

"If we can guard, it opens up a lot of things for other parts of our game," he said. "We can get out and run a little bit, and it takes away some of their full-court pressure."

By halftime, Menominee led 36-15. Brady Schultz scored eight of his 16 points in the second quarter, and both Brady Badker and Trevor Theurkauf scored five in the period.

Menominee came out of the halftime break buzzing, ready to punch its ticket to East Lansing. The Maroons scored another 25 points, led by six points from Aidan Bellisle.

"I thought our pressure tonight really bothered them. Badker and Schultz were outstanding on their two best players," Larson said.

Pittman was held scoreless in both the second and third quarters, finishing with 13 after a seven-point fourth quarter flurry when the game was out of reach.

Badker and Schultz scored 16 points each. Bellisle scored 11, Brody Waara scored seven, and Cooper Conway got eight. Connor Codati and Theurkauf chipped in five apiece, and Eli Beal got a third-quarter bucket.

"We were really patient against their zone. Schultz and Conway made great decisions in the high post and delivered the ball where it needed it to go," Larson said. "Aidan did a great job of breaking down the initial layer of pressure and made great decisions. We were very unselfish with the ball and found the open man each time."

The Maroons are one of four teams remaining from Division 3. They take on Ecorse at noon on Thursday. The winner will face either Schoolcraft or Flint Beecher at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Both games will be held at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, home of the Michigan State Spartans.

"This has been a goal of ours all season long," Larson said. "Our kids have worked hard for this and deserve this opportunity. Now we have to make the most of it."

Ecorse, located just south of Detroit near the Detroit River, is coming off a 80-49 win over Bath on Tuesday, and is 9-12 on the season, though that included forfeits in 10 of 11 games to start the season. They've won seven of eight since then, led by three-star junior recruit Malik Olafioye, who has Division 1 offers from schools such as Georgetown, Boston College, Houston, and Arizona State, among others.

According to the News-Herald in Southgate, Michigan, this season was the team's first regional title since 1978.

Schoolcraft and Flint Beecher are 23-2 and 22-2, respectively.



Maroons Claim Regional Title With

OT Win Over Benzie Central


The Menominee Maroons claimed their first regional title since 2008 with a 60-56 double-overtime victory over Benzie Central on Wednesday March 16th.

After traveling four hours to Sault Ste. Marie, the Maroons were in for a battle. Following the first quarter, Benzie County Central led 17-11, with Jaxon Childers scoring eight points and Nate Childers adding five.

Aidan Bellisle scored seven of Menominee's first 11 to help keep the Maroons in it early. Both defenses seemed to adjust in the second quarter, as the two teams combined to make just three field goals and seven free throws in the period.

At halftime, Benzie led 25-18. The teams were pretty even in the third quarter, with a 12-11 Menominee advantage, leaving the Maroons with a manageable six-point deficit going into the final eight minutes.

Benzie proved to be a tough task for Menominee. The Maroons have been able to hit their opponents early to start off with a lead, but they weren't able to do that against the Huskies.

"The better the competition is, the less you're going to be able to [build an early lead]. We saw that against Benzie," Menominee coach Sam Larson said. "We played a higher level of a team and it's hard to jump on them early like we have against some other teams."

Benzie's Quinn Zickert got hot in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of his team-high 22, but Jaxon Childer's two free throws were the only other Benzie points in the quarter.

Menominee scored 17 fourth-quarter points to tie the game at 47, with five different players putting the ball in the bucket in the period. Bellisle scored six in the quarter, Cooper Conway and Brody Waara both nailed 3-pointers, Brady Badker made three of his six free throws, and Brady Schultz scored two.

The two teams were locked at 51 after one overtime period, and the Maroons outscored the Huskies 9-5 in the second.

Menominee scored seven of its 13 overtime points via free throws, with Bellisle making all four of his attempts in OT. He scored six over the two overtimes.

The Maroons made 17 of 30 free throw attempts in the game.

Bellisle scored a game-high 23 points. Schultz got 13, Conway scored 12, and Waara scored six.

Badker's four points all came on free throws and Eli Beal had two first-quarter points.

"When our defense is good and we also have a hot shooter, we're tough to beat," Bellisle said, noting that Menominee is due for a hot shooting night.

Zickert led Benzie with 22 and Jaxon Childers scored 19. Nate Childers got 11.

The win was Menominee's second in overtime this season, as the Maroons beat Marquette 86-77 in triple overtime on Feb. 4. They were also beaten by Ewen-Trout Creek in overtime to wrap up the regular season, 59-58.

With the win, Menominee earned a date with Grayling in Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday as one of the final eight teams standing in Division 3, with Bath, Ecorse, Pewamo-westphalia, Schoolcraft, New Haven, and Flint Beecher also among the eight.

The winner of that game, Menominee's second straight in Sault Ste. Marie, heads to the Breslin Center in East Lansing for the semifinals, home of the Michigan State Spartans.

"We're used to [playing in Sault Ste. Marie], so I think that's going to give us a little edge on Grayling because they haven't played there yet. It'll be a little nicer for us," Badker said.


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