MARQUETTE - You'd think putting four players in double figures scoring-wise would be the main reason Marquette Senior High School took a 71-50 Great Northern Conference boys basketball win over visiting Kingsford Friday night.
It certainly had an impact, as A.J. Grazulis (17), Mark Pap (16), Andy Nyquist (14) and Brad Brow (12) combined for 59 points on Senior Night.
But both Brow and MSHS head coach Brad Nelson said it was something more that enabled the Class ABC No. 2-ranked Redmen to win going away.
Marquette’s Andrew Nyquist, center, extends for a layup as Kingsford’s Cole Michaud (35) and Dan Harrington defend during the second quarter in Marquette on Friday. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
"It was defense, for sure," said Brow, a junior guard. "We shot well, but it was our defense that was tough tonight."
"Our defense in the second quarter and part of the third was tremendous," he said. "We shut Kingsford down for a while in the third before we got lackadaisical and let them get back to within 13 (47-34)."
The two teams battled on even terms in the first quarter, then Marquette (15-2, 8-0 GNC) lost senior forward Mark Pap and junior guard Larry Burnette the entire second stanza to two fouls apiece.
But the Redmen still managed to stretch a 16-13 first quarter lead to a 28-20 advantage at the half.
"It limited our play book (with Pap and Burnette sitting)," Nelson said, "but we played defense and took care of the ball.
"(Subs) Trevor Havican and Connor Brazeau did a good job of that."
MSHS went on a 10-0 run over a three-minute span of the third quarter behind five points by Brow and four by Pap.
But Kingsford (12-5, 5-3) put on a 9-2 spurt at the end of the stanza behind five points by Dalton Allen to make it 47-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We played OK the first half defensively," Flivvers head coach Dan Olkkonen said. "But we tried something new by playing a zone in the third and Marquette attacked it well.
"They're just so well rounded, while we had to grind it out to score."
The two teams battled on even terms in the final eight minutes before MSHS - with a 59-47 lead - outscored the Flivvers 12-3 down the stretch.
Pap notched seven of his points in the final quarter, Grazulis five and Nyquist - who dished out five assists in the game - added four.
"We just kept pushing and running," Brow said. "I think we wore (Kingsford) down."
Allen paced the Flivvers with 14 points. Caleb Harrington chipped in 13 and Aidan Wienke netted 12. Both Allen and Wienke grabbed five rebounds each.
"I liked the way we fought," Olkkonen said, "and Allen did a nice job off the bench.
"But Nyquist did a nice job penetrating for Marquette and they showed good (scoring) balance."
Nelson agreed with Olkkonen, a former Northern Michigan University player (1994-96).
"It's the first time in a while we had four guys in double figures," the MSHS coach said. "When we have that kind of balance, more guys are playing with confidence."
Kingsford won the JV game, 72-68.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org