Braves roll in Esky rematch

‘Big Three’ gives boost to Gladstone

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Gladstone’s Reece Castor (44) attacks the basket between Escanaba defenders Ben Willis (in back) and Craig Kamin (right) in Friday’s game.

ESCANABA — Gladstone boys’ basketball coach Dane Quigley doesn’t have a name for his three dynamic players — Reece Castor, Brad Spindler and Rudy Peterson.

He wouldn’t dare call them the “Three Amigos” or the “Three Stooges” or the “Kipling Trio,” but he wouldn’t hesitate to call them “My Three Sons.”

Castor (21 points), Spindler (25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks) and Peterson (20 points, six assists) wreaked havoc Friday at Escanaba as the Braves rolled to a 78-66 Great Northern Conference victory.

The win avenged an earlier 75-57 loss to Esky in December and gives Gladstone (13-5, 6-2) a share of the GNC title with Marquette, which also finished 6-2 in league play.

And the bayshore rivals will play Round 3 at Escanaba in the Class B district opener Monday, March 5.

On Friday, it was three strikes from Quigley’s trio and the Eskymos were out.

“They are really good friends and they hang out a lot and they love basketball,” Quigley said. “These three guys text me all the time. They want the keys to the gym. Sometimes it’s 9-10 at night and they are coming to my house to get the keys to the gym to shoot around. They just put in a lot of work and they love basketball.”

Esky coach Tracy Hudson saw enough of Castor, Spindler and Peterson.

“We didn’t slow the ‘Big Three’ down and we have to do that,” Hudson said. “Their execution at the beginning of the third quarter was the biggest key. I thought our inside guys played well.

“I thought our kids did a good job. We lost to a very good team. They are a hot team. I think we are a good team. We have to get a little more perimeter scoring.”

Esky (14-5, 5-3) received big games from senior point guard Ryan Robinette (19 points, five steals,) junior forward Jared Nash (19 points, 11 rebounds) and freshman center Carter Hudson (13 points).

Gladstone won this game with a four minute burst to open the third quarter. The game was tied 36-36 at halftime and the Braves went on a decisive 17-6 run after making 7 of their first 9 shots. Just like that it was 53-42.

Peterson started the damage by making two quick 3-pointers to open the third quarter.

“We just wanted to come out composed and play relaxed,” Quigley said about the second-half start. “Early on in the year we struggled with these big moments. They kind of got to us. We’ve really settled in the second half of the year and embraced these big moments. The kids were relaxed. They were composed and I think that’s what helped us get that big lead there in the third quarter.”

Esky could not get any closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Robinette scored 11 of his 19 points in the first quarter as Esky bolted to a 21-16 lead after the first eight minutes. Gladstone regrouped to tie the game at halftime.

But Peterson, who made six 3-pointers, came out on fire with those two key treys and the Braves were off and running.

“I thought Rudy Peterson was a real key.” Hudson said. “He knocked some big shots down. We had to use a couple timeouts to try to adjust on him in our zone.”

Gladstone hit 32-of-62 shots from the field for 52 percent, including 8-of-21 on 3-pointers. The Braves were out-rebounded 34-28 and had 10 turnovers.

Esky shot 26-of-64 for 41 percent and had 10 turnovers.

Gladstone travels to Manistique Tuesday and Esky hosts Ishpeming Thursday.

And then there’s that district showdown for bayshore bragging rights.

“I think we’ve been playing our best basketball the last eight, nine games,” Quigley said.

“I am going to try to enjoy this one tonight, but I wasn’t even in (the locker room) three seconds and that was in the back of my mind that we have to come back here and do it all over again. It will be fun and we’ll be ready.”

Added Hudson: “They know what is at stake and we know what is at stake. We have to come with our best defense. I said from Day One we have to come with a defensive package that can slow them down.’

Esky beat Gladstone 68-63 in the JV game and also beat the Braves 57-35 in the freshman game.

Gladstone 16 20 24 18 — 78

Escanaba 21 15 17 13 — 66

Gladstone — Lamberg 7, Peterson 20, Spindler 25, Ness 5, Castor 21. FT: 6-10; F: 13; Fouled out: none. 3-point field goals: Lamberg, Peterson 6, Spindler.

Escanaba — Robinette 19, Fedell 2, Kamin 2, McDonald 2, Nash 19, Willette 9, Hudson 13. FT: 11-15; F: 11. Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Robinette 2, Hudson.