Raiders turn it up on Esky

ESCANABA – With the Escanaba girls playing their usual brand of hard-nosed, lane-clogging defense, they put the Class D DeTour Raiders in a place they didn’t want to be.

However, the Raiders made it work to their advantage. Taking what the Eskymos gave them, which wasn’t much early on, translated to big-time shots down the stretch and DeTour came away with a 50-42 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon.

DeTour’s offense was completely stifled in the first half. Standout and All-U.P. athlete Nicole Bouwma was held to just two points and the Raiders’ offense appeared frustrated being unable to drive in the paint. They took multiple shots from beyond the arc and didn’t make a single one.

“We couldn’t buy a basket in the first half. They were double teaming Nicole, which we see all the time,” said Raiders coach James Geyer. “We just had to hit some shots to relieve that pressure and fortunately we turned it on.”

DeTour also did a nice job on Bouwma’s Escanaba counterpart, holding Michelle LaFave to just nine points, including two in the first half. However, LaFave hitting well below her average, also presented opportunities for the other Eskymos. It was senior night and Esky’s three seniors gave a performance to remember.

Codi Jenshak hit three shots from downtown en route to a team-high 11 point effort. Zoe Berquist finished with eight points and Jessica Beauchamp added six points – all in the first half. The trio also facilitated much of the rebounding effort.

“The three seniors came out today and they knew it was their last home game and last time on this court,” said Eskymos coach Kelly O’Connell. “It was too bad we couldn’t get a win for them, but they had nice games.”

Minutes into the third quarter, the Eskymos held a commanding 24-12 lead but the Raiders were far from discouraged.

Holly Burton got the comeback rolling with a triple, and that started a 17-4 run for the Raiders that culminated in back-to-back triples from Lindsay Grzesiek at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth quarter. The run put DeTour ahead for good at 30-28.

Grzesiek hit two more long three’s in the fourth quarter as her hot handed kept pushing the Raiders farther ahead. At one point she scored seven consecutive points and finished with a game-high 16 points.

“They were double teaming down low a lot so we set up on the outside. I relaxed a bit in the second half,” said Grzesiek. “Two nights ago we lost to Pickford so we need this one for confidence. It feels really good.”

It appeared as if it was more of a change in mindset than anything for the Raiders. Shots that were forced in the first half, were shot with confidence in the second and fell right on target.

“I told the girls, there’s open looks, we just have to execute. Get that ball zipping around and there will be shots available,” said Geyer. “We had to regroup after taking a hard one Thursday night, then we had to come over on a long bus ride and play against a Class B school, so I’m happy to come out of here with a win.”

DeTour (16-2) visits Mackinac City Tuesday before wrapping up its season Thursday against Brimley. Escanaba (4-15), which won the jayvee game 36-19, wraps up at Menominee Thursday night.