Castor sizzles, leads Braves past Flivvers
GLADSTONE — There were great individual performances all over the court, but Gladstone had the better team perfomance in a 77-71 win over Kingsford here Thursday in a Great Northern Conference boys’ basketball game.
The Braves overcame a 28-point effort from Luke Terrian and a 25-point night from Tyler Beauchamp for the Flivvers.
Gladstone, which won its third straight, outscored the Flivvers 16-5 over the final six minutes of the third quarter to turn a three-point lead into a commanding 14-point cushion.
“We played really well in the third quarter,” Braves’ coach Dane Quigley said. “We picked up the pace and got some easy buckets in transition.”
The Braves (5-5, 1-2 GNC) started slow and found themselves trailing 16-9 after the first period before they erupted for 30 points in the second.
“We did a really good job offensively in the second quarter,” Quigley said. “They slowed us down in the first quarter by playing in the half-court so we decided to come out and press in the second to try to pick up the pace. I thought we did a good job with it — we got them out of their game.”
Reece Castor continued his dominance for the Braves, pouring in 33 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists.
“Reece is the best player in the U.P.,” Flivvers’ coach Dan Olkkonen said. “He can score from anywhere on the floor, but what makes him so special is his passing ability. That will help him more than anything at the next level — he’s really fun to watch.”
The second quarter was fun to watch, as Castor and Beauchamp went back and forth.
Beauchamp hit back-to-back threes to begin the period, while Castor scored seven of the Braves’ first nine points.
Castor tripled with 4:02 remaining to give the Braves the lead at 28-26, only to watch Beauchamp answer immediately at the other end. Castor’s last bucket of the period came with 24 seconds left on a steal and score to put the Braves up by four, and they led 39-36 at halftime. Beauchamp finished the game with seven triples.
“Luke Terrian and Tyler Beauchamp are really good players,” Quigley said. “We knew coming in we had to game-plan for them. You can’t really stop them, but you have to try to contain them.”
A trey from Beauchamp trimmed Gladstone’s lead to 45-42 with six minutes left in the third quarter, but the Braves dominated the rest of the period, taking a 61-47 lead into the fourth.
“Their runs really hurt us,” Olkkonen said.
“We don’t have enough fire-power to overcome that. We knew coming in we had to do the simple things as well as possible, and I thought we played really well. We played really hard — I’m proud of the effort of every guy that played tonight.”
The Flivvers (3-5, 0-2) kept fighting in the fourth quarter, even after the Braves stretched their lead to as many as 15 on a three from Castor with four minutes left. Terrian hit back-to-back threes in the last 30 seconds to trim the deficit to 76-71 with 13 seconds left, but the Flivvers ran out of time.
“This is a game we probably don’t win at the start of the season,” Quigley said. “Our supporting cast has really found their niche — they are playing with a ton of confidence and are really starting to gel. Everyone has stepped up but Carson Shea has probably been the biggest one.”
Shea finished with 16 points and Rane Castor added 11 for the Braves.
Gladstone, which won the jayvee game 73-68 in overtime, hosts Gwinn Tuesday. Kingsford hosts Iron Mountain Tuesday.
Kingsford 16 20 11 24 — 71
Gladstone 9 30 22 16 — 77
Kingsford — Terrian 28, Beauchamp 25, Kopp 6, Galeazzi 4, Mann 2. F: 17; FT: 9-16; Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Beauchamp 7, Terrian 2, Kopp.
Gladstone — Re. Castor 33, Shea 16, Ra. Castor 11, Ballard 6, Downey 5, St. John 3. F: 16; FT: 13-18; Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Re. Castor 3.