Wolves out-hustle Maroons

MENOMINEE – Contain Carney-Nadeau’s offensive flame throwers and the Wolves will beat you with their all-out hustle and defense.

The Wolves overcame an injury to leading scorer Keenan Lampinen to defeat Menominee 47-39 on the Maroons’ home floor Tuesday night.

With the Maroons mired in a 2 of 21 slog from the floor in the first half, Carney-Nadeau took a 23-11 lead into halftime.

“We played terrific defense,” Wolves’ coach Jacob Polfus said. “Playing physical against that team is a great sign for districts.”

Lampinen crashed hard to the court while driving to the basket with 34 seconds left in the first half and jammed his right shoulder. He sat out the second half, but Polfus is confident Lampinen will be ready for district tournament play.

Dionte Blahnik yanked the net with a 3-ball and followed with a driving layup to open the second half. Austin Johnson’s two free throws boosted the lead to 32-14 with 4:52 left in the third quarter.

“An 11-point lead against us is like a 25-point lead because we don’t score,” Menominee coach Pete Pericolosi said.

With Lampinen, the Wolves’ savvy ballhandler sidelined, the Maroons pounced on Carney-Nadeau with their press.

Menominee forced a couple of turnovers and sank four of six shots during a closing charge in the third quarter.

Devon Harris drilled a pair 3-pointers and dished to Tyler Howell for two as the Maroons chopped the deficit to 35-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

Caine Knaus momentarily stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer from the corner to spike the margin to 38-24 early in the final frame.

Menominee lashed back with a 15-4 flurry. Aaron Nolde pumped in a shot from the perimeter, Howell horsed in a pair of inside shots and Nolde knocked down another 3-pointer to slash the lead to 42-39 with 1:25 remaining.

After a Blahnik free throw, the Maroons had a chance to cut the lead to two points but blew a point-blank shot. After the Wolves missed twice from the line, Menominee turned the ball over.

Knaus sank one of two FTs and Manuel Duran sank two clutch shots from the line to push the lead to 46-39 with 19 seconds left.

“Our kids were in different positions (after Lampinen’s injury) and we had no time outs left,” Polfus said of the Menominee comeback. “The kids did a good job of doing it on their own. It was a great team effort.”

The Wolves sank just 13 of 51 shots, including six 3-pointers.

“They made us work for everything,” said Polfus. “They’re a very good defensive team.”

Blahnik led the Wolves with 14 points, five rebounds and four blocks.

The Maroons connected on just 15 of 56 shots (27 percent) and were four of 23 from 3-point range. Howell had 13 points, Harris 12 and Nolde 10.

Pericolosi wasn’t happy with the effort of his team.

“Carney outhustled us. They beat us to every loose ball and they beat us downcourt. You can’t control shooting but you can control effort.”

The Maroons (6-12) play host to Stephenson Thursday. The Wolves (15-4) play host to Rapid River Thursday.