Girls basketball: Escanaba holds off Flivvers, 70-64

Kingsford's Maggie Strehlow, right, and Tori Kowalkowski (20) defend Escanaba's Nicole Kamin (4) on Thursday. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

KINGSFORD — The Kingsford Flivvers reached their goal Thursday but still fell short against Escanaba in Great Northern Conference girls basketball Thursday.

The talented one-two punch of Nicole Kamin and Lexi Chaillier combined for 41 points — each with 16 in the second half — to spark the Eskymos past the Flivvers 70-64.

“I was happy with our offensive production,” said Kingsford head coach Lisa Harry. “We set a goal before the game to shoot for 15 points a quarter and hit 60. I would have never guessed we would score 64 points and lose the game.

“Our team defense has been pretty solid all year, but not tonight. You can’t give up 70 points and expect to win.”

Maggie Strehlow led the Flivvers (4-3, 1-2) with 19 points primarily in the paint. Point guard Brooke Kriegl chipped in 18 and Olivia Allen had 12.

Kamin, a 6-foot sophomore, posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Chaillier chipped in 19 points. They accounted for all but one point when the Eskymos (5-4, 2-1) charged from a 60-58 deficit with five minutes remaining.

“They’re our leading scorers and they took it upon themselves in that second half to being smart with the ball and knowing when they could drive and get to the line quite a bit,” Escanaba coach Mike Beveridge said. “That was key for us.”

The Eskymos made 18 free throws to the Flivvers’ 12. Chaillier hit five straight in the last four minutes and Kamin had a couple. The Flivvers scored just two baskets over the final five minutes.

“We gave up way too many points in transition, especially in the fourth quarter,” said Harry. “It was the story of the game.”

The Flivvers held a 56-50 advantage in the first minute of the fourth quarter before the Eskymos got untracked.

“We were a little more patient with the ball,” Beveridge said. :We were taking the fast breaks when we had them and pushing it a little bit more.

“There’s patience and pushing it, and my girls know the difference. They know when they can push it for those lay-ups and they got a few more in the second half.”

The Flivvers, who shot 41 percent from the floor, yielded five second-quarter threes to allow the Eskymos to close to 31-28 at halftime.

“The first half we gave up some threes, so at halftime we talked about closing out a little closer on the shooters,” Harry said. “Then the second half they drove it down our throats. I felt like we were on our heels defensively the whole game. We will learn from it and keep improving.”

The Eskymos, after a spirited halftime talk from Beveridge, pulled ahead 36-35 early in the third quarter.

“The first half wasn’t so pretty and we were down three,” Beveridge said. “I was OK with it but I just knew we could play so much better.

“As the third and fourth quarter went on we got into a little more of a flow and that’s what we’re capable of playing. This one was just a good battle of wills and both teams played hard to the end.”

Escanaba checked Kingsford to 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“Defensively we stood around too much,” Beveridge said. “In the second half we played a tough defense and denied them stuff. All aspects of the game improved in the second half.”

Junior Aubrey Weber had 12 points for the Eskymos.

Both teams will continue GNC play with Menominee. The Eskymos host the Maroons on Monday while the Flivvers travel there on Friday, Jan. 18.

Escanaba won the junior varsity game and Kingsford took the freshmen.

Escanaba 9 19 22 20 — 70

Kingsford 16 15 23 10 — 64

ESCANABA: Monkevich 3, Kamin 22, Lexi Chaillier 19, Wilson 5, Weber 12, Ray 9. FT: 18-26. F: 18. 3PT: Kamin 2, Weber 2, Ray 2

KINGSFORD: Olkkonen 5, Kriegl 18, Cook 2, Doolittle 4, Kowalkowski 3, Allen 12, Strehlow 19. FT: 12-19. F: 22. 3PT: Olkkonen, Kriegl 2, Allen 1.

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