Braves roll past Patriots
GLADSTONE — The key word at Gladstone Monday was momentum. It was something the Braves boys basketball team had in spurts, and it helped them maintain a comfortable lead to secure a 79-61 victory over Westwood.
Noah Ballard, who finished as the Braves’ top scorer with 22 points, scored the first three points of the Mid-Peninsula Conference contest in the first 30 seconds.
“We came out and took the lead early on,” Braves coach Dane Quigley said. “They never really regained anything, and we pretty much had control the entire game. I felt like, overall, the pace of play was in our favor. We established a tempo right away. Our energy level was up, and I felt like we did well from the opening tip — just establishing and putting the game in our favor tempo-wise and with the pressure we put on them. I felt like they had trouble recovering from that.”
After Taylor Dellangelo laid one in for the Patriots (10-8, 7-4 M-PC), Cam Ballard sank a triple to start an 18-6 run that gave the Braves a 21-8 lead with 1:35 left in the first quarter.
“Far and away defense (was our problem),” Patriots coach Scott Syrjala said. “Gladstone’s a good team, and they’re good shooters. We won (last time), but we were horrible defensively (tonight). We work on defense every single day because I saw that early on. I feel like we were a little selfish on the defensive side, pointing fingers at people. It wasn’t just one person in particular.”
The Braves (9-9, 6-4 M-PC) led 25-14 at the end of the quarter, then maintained their lead for the rest of the game.
“Offensively, we did fine,” Syrjala said. “But we aren’t going to beat a team not playing defense — any team out there. Kudos to Gladstone tonight. They attacked and they had good energy. We had no energy.”
The Patriots closed to within single digits twice as the game progressed, coming within eight in an offensively lackluster second quarter for the Braves and seven in the third.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit holding teams defensively this year,” Quigley said. “We kind of know if we’re going to get it done, we need to put points on the board. Luckily tonight, we used a little zone and they weren’t hitting their shots.”
Rane Castor added 20 points and five triples for the Braves. Cam Ballard followed with 17 and Michael Hagebusch chipped in 12.
The Patriots were led by Ty Alderton with 18 points. Dellangelo notched 15 and Zachary Carlson finished with 12.
Gladstone, which won the JV game 59-17, hosts Escanaba Friday. Westwood hosts third-ranked Negaunee Wednesday.
Westwood 14 14 17 16 — 61
Gladstone 25 13 21 20 — 79
Westwood — Alderton 18, Dellangelo 15, Carlson 12, Beckman 6, Anderson 4, Mariuzza 4, Boase 2. F: 17; Fouled out: none; FT: 12-18; 3-point field goals: Dellangelo 1.
Gladstone — N. Ballard 22, Castor 20, C. Ballard 17, Hagebusch 12, Schwalbach 5, Polley 2, Berube 1. F: 15; Fouled out: none; FT: 15-20; 3-point field goals: Castor 5, C. Ballard 2, Schwalbach 1.