Braves finish off Flivvers

Boys basketball

Avery Bundgaard | Daily Press Gladstone’s Jeff Stenson (32) puts up a shot over Kingsford’s Andrew Mann while Gladstone’s Owen Hanson (30) watches during the first quarter Thursday at Gladstone.

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone boys’ basketball team hit some key free throws down the stretch as it held off a late comeback attempt by Kingsford to win the Great Northern Conference matchup 75-68.

Gladstone (10-4, 4-2 GNC) gets a big win as it rushes into a three-way tie atop the league with Marquette (9-5, 5-2 GNC) and Escanaba (12-3, 5-2 GNC), which lost to Marquette Thursday night.

“It was a big win and I thought we played well,” said Gladstone coach Dane Quigley. “I thought we played a really good first half. Defensively I thought we collapsed a little bit in the third quarter but we were composed enough to overcome it and get the win down the stretch.”

It was the Flivvers (7-7, 2-4 GNC) that got out to the big start going up 9-5 right away. The Braves would then pick up the pace outscoring Kingsford by 10 the rest of the quarter and taking a 16-10 lead going into the second period.

Kingsford’s Tyler Beauchamp hit the first shot of the second quarter but it was all Gladstone after that.

The Braves scored the next 12 points to build a 16-point lead and they coasted the rest of the way taking a 36-22 halftime lead.

“We had some full-court pressure on them with our half-court trap,” said Quigley. “That kind of helped them turn the ball over a little bit or forced them into some quick shots. We were able to get out and run and push the ball which is our style of play.”

The Flivvers scored the first four points of the third quarter but the Braves would respond with an 8-0 run of their own to take their largest lead of the game at 18.

Kingsford would chip away at Gladstone’s lead the rest of the quarter and cut the deficit to 52-41 going into the final period.

Beauchamp hit a 3-pointer and a layup to cut the Braves’ lead to six early in the fourth quarter.

The Braves came right back building its lead back up to 13 with a 7-0 run, five which came from Reece Castor.

Castor would then foul out soon after with 4:15 to play leaving the Braves without its best player the rest of the way.

That’s where the Flivvers made their move led by Beauchamp scoring 17 of his game high 30 points in the fourth quarter. He made all three free-throws after getting fouled behind the arc bringing Kingsford within four with 1:15 remaining.

“It was a tale of two halves for him,” said Kingsford coach Dan Olkkonen on Beauchamp who only had two points in the first half. “He was able to get some really good shots for us in the second half. He caught fire there in the end and that fires everybody up.”

The Flivvers would have to start fouling and Gladstone was clutch from the free-throw line going 9-for-10 in the final minute to put Kingsford away.

“I don’t think we were shooting free-throws very well for through out most of the game so to hit them their in the fourth quarter down the stretch of the game was huge,” said Quigley.

Brad Spindler led the Braves with 22 points while Castor and Rudy Peterson each had 14.

Luke Terrian followed Beauchamp in scoring for the Flivvers with 13 and Nate Rutter added 12.

Gladstone, which won the jayvee game 68-61, will travel to Negaunee Tuesday while Kingsford hosts Iron Mountain the same night.

The summary:

Kingsford 10 12 19 27 — 68

Gladstone 16 20 16 23 — 75

Kingsford — Kreski 6, Rutter 12, Terrian 13, Beaucamp 30, Mann 6, Gayan 1; FT: 12-17; F: 20; Fouled out: Beauchamp; 3-point field goals: Beauchamp 6, Rutter 2, Terrian 1.

Gladstone — Lamberg 3, Shea 2, Downey 2, Peterson 14, Spindler 22, Hanson 2, Stenson 2, Ness 9, Gierke 5, Castor 14; FT: 22-32; F: 18; Fouled out: Castor; 3-point field goals: Gierke 1, Lamberg 1.