Negaunee, MI – March 6, 2020 – After a hard fought game, the Negaunee Miners Girls Basketball team’s season ended on Friday night with a 48-44 loss to the Westwood Patriots in the District 66 championship game. Jesse Anderson had the call live from Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium in Negaunee on Sunny 101.9.
Both regular season games this season between these two teams were low-scoring rock fights, and this one started the same way. Madelyn Koski got Westwood on the board first with a basket, and neither team scored for over two minutes afterwards until Koski made another one. With four minutes left in the first, the Patriots led 5-0 with Koski doing all of the scoring. Karlie Patron knocked down a 3-pointer for the Patriots on the next possession, and Negaunee suddenly found itself trailing 8-0. Alyssa Hill scored in the paint for Negaunee’s first points of the game, but Koski answered with a second 3-point shot to give Westwood a nine-point advantage. Hill and Natalie Prophet exchanged baskets down low to end the first, and Westwood held a 13-4 lead.
End of 1st: Westwood Patriots 13, Negaunee Miners 4
Patron scored once again for the Patriots in the lane, the basket extended the lead to double digits. Lilly Nelson came through on the other end for the Miners with a 3-point shot, and it gave the Negaunee offense a much needed spark. Chloe Norman and Morgan Carlson scored on the next couple of possessions for the Miners, and the deficit was quickly down to only three points. Westwood responded to the run after taking a timeout with baskets from Prophet and Patron, the lead was back up to seven with five minutes left in the first half. Negaunee kept battling back despite the Patriots’ clicking offense. Nelson and Bree Giotto combined for the Miners’ final nine points in the half, all from the 3-point line. At halftime, the Patriots led 26-21 in a tightly contested game.
Halftime: Westwood Patriots 26, Negaunee Miners 21
This championship game remained a battle in the third quarter until the Patriots made a big adjustment, and switched into a zone defense. The change allowed Westwood to go on a run, and it took a 36-27 lead after consecutive baskets from Patron. After committing a few turnovers due to the zone, the Miners bounced back with a big run of its own. Carlson capped off an 8-0 by Negaunee with a put-back layup, and the Miners trailed by one point with only one minute remaining in the third. Both teams traded baskets in the final seconds before Patron ended the quarter with a buzzer beating shot to put the Patriots up by three.
End of 3rd: Westwood Patriots 40, Negaunee Miners 37
The fourth quarter looked much like the first, there wasn’t a lot of offense to be found. That was due to Westwood trying to milk every second of the clock when it had the ball, and it was working successfully. Prophet and Patron boosted the Patriots’ lead back up to seven, but a Norman 3-pointer made the score 44-40 in favor of Westwood. After a missed shot by Westwood, Negaunee cut Westwood’s lead to 44-42 with a layup by Hill. After the Miners’ basket, the Patriots wasted over a minute of time off of the clock, Negaunee needed to get the ball back. It did get it back after a missed shot by Westwood, but the Patriot defense held with under a minute left in the game. Negaunee had to foul, and it fouled Tessa Leece with 40 seconds left. Leece made two huge free throws, putting the Patriots up 46-42. The Miners turned it over and the Patriots missed free throws, which led to a layup by Norman with only five seconds left. Prophet made a big play for Westwood, and it wasn’t from the free throw line. She grabbed the offensive rebound after the second free throw was no good, and it ruined any chance for Negaunee to tie it up. Prophet’s rebound iced the game, and after another made free throw, the Miners’ season came to an end at the hands of a 48-44 loss to the Westwood Patriots. Negaunee ends the season with a 16-7 record, and the team was led by 12 points by both Nelson and Hill in its final game of the year.
Final Score: Westwood Patriots 48, Negaunee Miners 44