Road warriors

Robinette sparks Esky to victory against Sault

Rob Roos/Sault News Escanaba's Ryan Robinette (4) is defended by Sault High's Shane Thompson (44) during a non-conference basketball game Saturday. The Eskymos beat the Blue Devils 60-48.

By Rob Roos

The Sault News

SAULT STE. MARIE — Down by two points at halftime on the road, the Escanaba boys basketball team needed to find a reponse to Sault High’s hot start Saturday afternoon.

The Eskymos answered the bell, digging in on defense and driving past the Blue Devils 60-48 in a non-conference game.

Ryan Robinette was the offensive catalyst, scoring a game-high 26 points for the Eskymos (10-1). Jared Nash shot 7-of-9 from the field and scored 16 points, while Craig Kamin added 10 points. The Eskymos improved to 7-0 in road games this season.

Rob Roos | Sault News Escanaba’s Austin Willette (44) puts up a shot at Sault Ste. Marie Saturday. Esky improved to 7-0 in road games with the win.

“They really had all the momentum at halftime,” Escanaba coach Tracy Hudson said. “Sault High was playing their fifth game in six days, but they came at us with a lot of energy and I have to credit them for playing well. They had their ‘A’ game today.

“We were a little rusty,” Hudson said. “We did what we needed to do on the road though, three hours away. We played inspired basketball in the second half. We showed some real toughness and resolve, and we’re happy to go home with the win.”

Esky had a decent start and led 17-10 after the opening quarter. But the Blue Devils grabbed the momentum, as they went on a 18-9 run in the second quarter to take a 28-26 lead into intermission. Sault 6-foot-8 center Brandon Paul hammered home an exclamation point dunk during that rally, and Shane Thompson hit a 3-pointer at the quarter buzzer to give the Sault a 28-26 lead.

“At halftime it was a wake-up call for our team, and I thought our kids responded,” Hudson said. “We were playing scared for a stretch there, with Brandon Paul intimidating and getting some blocks. In the second half, we took it right at them. As the second half went on, our 1-3-1 defense kind of wore on them also.”

Esky’s length in the 1-3-1 zone defense began to close down the passing lanes for the Sault in the second half, and the Blue Devils’ 3-point shots stopped falling. Robinette and Kamin dominated the Sault guards, while Nash also played strong in the post, with defensive support from Austin Willette and Carter Hudson.

“Ryan is one of the best guards I’ve ever coached,” coach Hudson said. “He settled us down in the second half. The difference between him as a sophomore, and now a senior, is that he is making everyone around him better.”

Robinette flashed his outside shot and also finished at the rim, scoring 18 points in the second half. He also compiled seven assists and six steals, helping Esky force 21 steals/deflections.

Esky outscored the Sault 19-10 in the third quarter and didn’t let the Blue Devils get any closer than five points the rest of the way.

Paul finished with 24 points, to go with eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Thompson scored 15 points, but no other Sault players had more than five points.

Sault High dipped to 6-5 overall.

“Escanaba has been beating a lot of teams,” Sault High coach Mike Fitzner said. “They’re an outstanding team, with good depth, and a leader in Robinette who makes a lot of plays for them.

“For us, it was still a step forward as a program today,” Fitzner said. “We played a good 26 minutes. The last six minutes, the wheels came off and we struggled. We don’t want to end that way, but we can learn from this and get better.”

Escanaba won the junior varsity game 75-48 and freshman game 52-22.

Escanaba plays host to Menominee, while Sault High visits Petoskey on Tuesday.

Escanaba 17 9 19 15 – 60

Sault Ste. Marie 10 18 10 10 – 48

Escanaba — Robinette 26, Lamarche 2, Kamin 10, Willis 4, Nash 16, Willette 2. FT: 8-12; F: 12; 3-point field goals: Robinette 3, Kamin.

Sault Ste. Marie – Misiak 1, Knowles 3, Paul 24, Goldenbogen 5, Thompson 15. FT: 5-8; F: 14; 3-point field goals: Thompson 3, Paul 2, Knowles.


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