Braves falter late

IRON MOUNTAIN — It was a different day, but a similar result for Gladstone.

Just two days after Kingsford came from behind to beat the Braves, Gladstone traveled back to Dickinson County only to lose another fourth quarter lead.

Iron Mountain overcame a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Gladstone 46-37 on Thursday.

“It was almost an identical game pretty much. A lot of the same stuff. Our youth is showing once again,” Gladstone coach Andy Cretens said. “Once again, I still feel good. The girls really responded in the locker room. They understand what we’ve got to get better at.

“We’re excited moving forward here. We’ve got to take care of the ball better and we have to rebound better. We have to defend and don’t turn the ball over. We’re defending really, really well right now. We’re just not taking care of the basketball. We’re not rebounding the basketball.”

The Braves (0-3) led by as much as nine late in the third quarter, but the Mountaineers stood behind their defense to chip away at the lead.

Riley Poupore returned from an ankle injury on Dec. 3 to lead Iron Mountain with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Poupore hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the game to give Iron Mountain a 35-34 lead. Gladstone responded with a bucket for a one-point lead. Iron Mountain came back and passed around the perimeter before finding Jorden Stoner wide open. Her 3-pointer gave the Mountaineers a 37-35 lead with 2:16 to play.

Iron Mountain held the advantage to the end for their first win of the season after falling to L’Anse on Tuesday with a last-second shot.

“That one felt good. Good to win, that’s for sure,” Iron Mountain head coach Katelynn Grenier said. “We worked at it each game and got a little bit better. Tonight, we put all the puzzle pieces together — offense, defense, free throws, boxing out. It was nice to see it all together for four solid quarters. At first we were a little shaky. We took care of the ball better and got a little more set in our offense. I think our defense won it for us. We held Megan Crow to six points and she’s their best player.”

And just like Tuesday, Gladstone’s defensive presence was tamed by foul trouble. The Mountaineers were in the double-bonus at the free-throw line with four minutes to go in the game. Andie Balenger and Maddie Ahlgren fouled out. Balenger led the Braves with seven points. Ahlgren, Marnnea LaFave, Alaina Trudeau and Crow had six points apiece.

Both teams combined for 42 fouls including 27 by Gladstone.

“That’s our inexperience that’s coming into play,” Cretens said. “We’re fouling too much. They reffed the game the same way as last time. We’ve got to learn to adjust.”

Iron Mountain’s jayvees won 33-20.

Gladstone 8 6 15 8 — 37

Iron Mountain 4 11 9 12 — 46

Gladstone: Balenger 7, Ahlgren 6, LaFave 6, Trudeau 6, Crow 6, Servant 4, Zeise 2. FT: 3-8. F: 27; Fouled out: Balenger, Ahlgren; 3-point field goals: Trudeau 2.

Iron Mountain: Poupore 18, Lundholm 12, Bal 9, Thomann 4, Stoner 3. FT: 19-31. F: 15. 3-point field goals: Poupore 1, Stoner 1, Bal 1.