Braves’ win scrambles GNC

Boys basketball

Avery Bundgaard | Daily Press Gladstone’s Brad Spindler (24) drives baseline against Marquette’s Treylon McFerrin (10) during the first half Tuesday at Gladstone.

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone boys’ basketball team pulled away in the fourth quarter to get a huge Great Northern Conference win Tuesday night over Marquette 66-55.

The Braves (9-4, 3-2 GNC) find themselves in a tight race with Marquette (8-5, 4-2 GNC) and Kingsford (7-5, 2-3 GNC) as they chase Escanaba (12-2, 5-1 GNC) atop the league.

The Braves have three GNC games left this season against Kingsford, Menominee and Escanaba and have a chance to cause some chaos.

“This is a huge win,” said Gladstone coach Dane Quigley. “My message was to the boys that if we win the GNC out it’s going to put a damper on the conference because a bunch of teams are going to have two loses so it could be up in the air for a tie for first.”

The Redmen jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led most of the first quarter until Reece Castor scored on a fast-break layup to give the Braves an 11-10 lead.

Gladstone led 14-12 going into the second quarter and that’s where it took the game over.

The Braves sprinted out to a 13-0 run to begin the second period and pushed their lead to 15.

Gladstone shot an incredible 11-for-16 (69 percent) from the field including four 3-pointers from Rudy Peterson.

“Peterson got hot and that kind of opens things up,” said Quigley. “We were getting the ball to (Brad) Spindler in the post and he was kicking it out to Peterson. When he’s knocking down shots it really opens up our offense. That second quarter was the key to our win tonight.”

Gladstone took a 42-27 lead and the momentum into halftime but it was Marquette that came out hot in the third quarter.

The Redmen scored eight straight points to open the period and eventually cut the deficit to 47-44 heading into the final quarter.

“It was defensive energy, it was defensive intensity and that’s what we’re known for,” said Marquette coach Brad Nelson. “That carries over to the offensive end every time. It was a tale of two halves but we need to play like we did in the second half for four quarters.”

The Braves responded well to Marquette’s third quarter surge as they started the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run to take a 15-point lead and cruised the rest of the way for the victory.

Castor led the Braves with 25 points and Peterson followed with 17 and Spindler added 10.

Marius Grazulis had a team-high 13 points for the Redmen while Treylon McFerrin had 11 and Raffy Millado added 10.

Both teams have big GNC games coming up as Gladstone welcomes Kingsford Thursday while Marquette hosts Escanaba the same night.

“Right now it’s a four-team race,” said Nelson. “Our focus is to get to a level where we can play in March. In order to get to that level we have to knock off some teams this month. Hopefully we get better from this game and we see what happens on Thursday.”

The summary:

Marquette 12 15 17 11 — 55

Gladstone 14 28 5 19 — 66

Marquette — Millado 10, McFerrin 11, Brazeau 5, Martysz 4, Kaski 3, Ogea 9, Grazulis 13; FT: 7-17; F: 15; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: McFerrin 2, Brazeau 1, Martysz 1, Kaski 1, Ogea 1.

Gladstone — Shea 4, Peterson 17, Spindler 10, Hanson 3, Ness 7, Castor 25; FT: 5-9; F: 16; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Peterson 5, Spindler 1, Hanson 1, Ness 1, Castor 1.