Girls basketball: Eskymos take control, hold off IM

Iron Mountain’s Reagan Lundholm (14) grabs a rebound against Escanaba on Friday in Iron Mountain. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Escanaba grabbed momentum and held on against Iron Mountain with a 63-47 win on Friday.

The Eskymos (5-6) led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter. Their lead wavered around 10 points in the first half.

Iron Mountain’s dismal 15 of 56 shooting (27 percent), spurned comeback attempts throughout the game. The Mountaineers (1-11) managed to battle back and bring the score within 10 a couple times, but Escanaba’s press produced turnovers.

“I was worried. The game wasn’t over until late in the fourth quarter because they were battling back,” Escanaba head coach Mike Beveridge said. “They kept it close and interesting especially through three quarters. I didn’t let off my team and they didn’t let up. I was proud of the effort they put in.”

Iron Mountain head coach Katelynn Johnson said she appreciated her team’s competitiveness throughout the game, despite facing a 20-point deficit.

“I’m definitely proud of the comeback and the fight that we had in the second half,” she said. “First half we were just defensively soft. Offensively, couldn’t put the ball in the basket. Way too many turnovers. I don’t know how many times we put the ball up into someone’s hands.”

Lexi Chaillier paced the Eskymos with 14 points. Mykenzie Monkevich came off the bench and added 13 points with eight rebounds.

“Lexi Chaillier played tough. Mykenzie Monkevich came off the bench and was strong underneath the basket. They all played hard,” Beveridge said. “We sub a lot and get the girls in and they pick it up where we left off, so I was really pleased with the girls.”

Riley Poupore had a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds for Iron Mountain. She fouled out with 1:30 left.

“We battled and that’s something I’ve noticed with these girls is they don’t give up on themselves and to me that’s a win in itself. Especially you know when people are saying you’re record’s one and whatever,” Johnson said. “To a player, yeah that hurts, but they definitely don’t give up on themselves. Honestly I don’t care what the record is as long as they’re getting better and come the end of February we’re playing the best basketball we can. That’s all we can do as long as you don’t give up.”

Escanaba shot 24 of 55 (44 percent), including 2 of 6 from long range.

Both teams combined for 45 fouls and 54 free throws. Beveridge said his team thrives in scrappy high-tempo games despite constant stoppage of play.

“That’s the way they play. We practice hard and they foul a lot in practice. We do have to work on keeping that flow. We do our best offense by our pressure defense,” he said.

“If we can keep the pressure on, yeah we’re going to have some fouls, we’re going to have some turnovers, but we play better when we’re pushing the tempo both sides of the ball.”

Escanaba JV won 67-48. Claire Mongrain paced the Mountaineers with 18 points while Aubrey Weber led Escanaba with 24 points.

Escanaba plays at Houghton on Feb. 2.

Iron Mountain hosts Ishpeming on Monday.

Escanaba 12 21 14 16 — 63

Iron Mountain 9 13 10 15 — 47

ESCANABA (63): Chaillier 14, Monkevich 13, Kamin 9, Stannard 8, Barron 6, Gauthier 4, Griffin 3, Beauchamp 2, Wilson 2, Carter 2. F: 20. FT: 13-28. FG: FG: 24-55. 3PT: 2-6 (Kamin 1, Griffin 1). Rebounds: 27 (Monkevich 8). Turnovers: 15.

IRON MOUNTAIN (47): Poupore 23, Ellis 8, Bal 4, Hoffman 4, Stoner 4, Lundholm 2, Diercks 2. F: 25 (Poupore fouled out). FT: 15-26. FG: 16-55. 3PT: 0-3. Rebounds: 26 (Poupore 9). Turnovers: 15.