Esky fizzles down the stretch

Prep boys basketball

Avery Bundgaard | Daily Press Escanaba’s Austin Willette (44) makes a move towards the baseline against Ishpeming’s Jaden Tucker during the second half Thursday at Escanaba.

ESCANABA — The Ishpeming boys’ basketball team took advantage of a big fourth quarter to get past Escanaba 66-60 Thursday in a battle of top five U.P. teams.

The fourth-ranked Hematites, who trailed by six early in the fourth quarter, finished the game on a 14-2 run to steal a big win heading into districts where they’ll play Gwinn Wednesday.

“It definitely was a huge win to keep our momentum going as we end the season tonight,” said Ishpeming coach Anthony Katona. “We played a great Escanaba team. I thought we played the best complete game we have all year. We really worked the ball around really well to break that zone and come out with the win.”

Hart Holmgren needed 18 points entering the game to become the all-time scoring leader in Ishpeming boys’ history. Holmgren scored 30 to break the previous record of 1,104 that stood since 1965.

“Hart was hitting from the outside,” said Katona. “He was able to penetrate a little bit also against their zone.”

The Hematites (14-6) started strong and led 19-17 in a tightly-contested first quarter. Holmgren came out firing early scoring Ishpeming’s first eight points and had 11 for the quarter.

The No. 5 ranked Eskymos (14-6) took control early in the second quarter and led by as much as eight late in the half and took a 40-35 lead into halftime.

“I thought we played a pretty good first half,” said Esky coach Tracy Hudson. “We were sharing the ball, we were getting the ball inside-out and our 1-3-1 was good. In the second half we came out and didn’t do the little things. We were selfish and we didn’t have the leadership down the stretch.”

Esky grew its lead in the third quarter and led by as much as nine until Ishpeming made a 6-0 run to end the quarter and cut the deficit to 54-52.

The Eskymos scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to go up six, but that’s where the Hematites made their run.

“In the fourth quarter we got those loose balls, we got those steals, we secured those defensive rebounds and that helped us secure the win,” said Katona.

Darius Yohe also had a big night for Ishpeming scoring 23 points and Gavin Sundberg added 11.

Ryan Robinette led the Eskymos with 20 points while Austin Willette had 14 and Jared Nash added 10.

Esky, which won the jayvee game 69-56, will have to recover quickly to face rival Gladstone Monday in its opening district game.

“Gladstone’s a very good team and I have a lot of respect for them,” said coach Hudson. “It’s a tall order and we got two days to prepare for Gladstone. We’re going to take Friday off. Then we have two practices and we’re going to come back Monday.”

The summary:

Ishpeming 19 16 17 14 — 66

Escanaba 17 23 14 6 — 60

Ishpeming — Sundberg 11, Do. Yohe 2, Holmgren 30, Da. Yohe 23; FT: 16-20; F: 12; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Sundberg 3, Holmgren 6, Da. Yohe 1.

Escanaba — Robinette 20, LaMarche 3, Fedell 2, Kamin 2, Nash 10, Willette 14, Hudson 9; FT: 10-11; F: 17; Fouled out: Robinette; 3-point field goals: Robinette 2, LaMarche 1, Hudson 1.