Esky blows 2nd half lead to Houghton

Prep boys basketball

HOUGHTON — For the first time since Dec. 10, 2012, the Houghton Gremlins defeated the Escanaba Eskymos.

Houghton scored a 60-56 nonconference win over No. 4 Escanaba Friday in Houghton, snapping a nine-game losing streak.

Houghton’s Brad Sirard scored a game-high 27 points while George Butvilas added 21 for the Gremlins (7-9).

Houghton’s upset bid did not get off to a good start as Escanaba jumped out to a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

Then Houghton coach Jared Lawson switched Butvilas to the top of the offense while allowing Sirard to come off screens.

“We started getting open looks for Brad then,” Lawson said.

Trailing 48-41 entering the fourth quarter, Houghton outscored Escanaba 19-8 to win 60-56. Lawson credits the interior defense of Sam Keskimaki for Houghton’s comeback.

“Sam was unbelievable on defense,” Lawson said.

“He did a phenomenal job down low. We don’t win this game with the job Sam Keskimaki did on defense tonight.”

For the game, Houghton shot 17 of 37 from the field and held a 26-21 advantage on the boards.

Esky (13-4) shot 22 of 40 overall and was led by Ryan Robinette, who finished with 17 points.

Next, Houghton hosts Lake Linden-Hubbell on Tuesday.

Escanaba 14 19 15 8 — 56

Houghton 5 16 20 19 — 60

Escanaba — Robinette 17, Fedell 3, Kamin 3, Nash 14, Willette 12, Hudson 7. F: 17; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 6-10; 3-point field goals: Robinette 3, Fedell, Kamin, Hudson.

Houghton — Butvilas 21, Majlessi 11, Sirard 27, Hyslop 1. F: 13; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 15-20; 3-point field goals: Sirard 5, Butvilas 2, Majlessi 2.