GWINN -With Gwinn High School boys basketball teammate Owen DeVooght sidelined with a fractured right foot, Justin Nyquist wanted to elevate his game to fill the void.
The 6-foot-4 senior forward did just that, pouring in a career-high 29 points and hauling down a game-high 12 rebounds to lead GHS to an 82-61 nonconference victory over visiting Superior Central Friday night.
"Owen and I normally share our shots, so I had to help the team out tonight with him out," Nyquist said. "I had to step up."
That he did. He scored 15 points in the first half to help the Modeltowners (10-7) forge a 35-35 tie with the Cougars (4-14).
But he was best in the third quarter when he notched 12 points to spark Gwinn to a 62-51 advantage. The Modeltowners outscored SC 27-16 in the stanza.
"He had a big game," GHS coach Darren Sinnaeve said of Nyquist. "He was aggressive in going to the hole and good on the boards."
Fans looking for defense didn't see much. The two teams combined for 143 points and both made at least 50 percent of their shots from the field.
"We moved the ball well and made 6 of 11 3-pointers," Sinnaeve said. "We had some quality shots."
Justin Beauchamp added 18 points and Alex Morse 12 for the Modeltowners. Beauchamp also came up with six steals, while Jesse Mottes collected five assists.
"We just couldn't get to their shooters," SC coach Herb Jenkins said. "We weren't switching (on defense) and Gwinn made some shots."
For the Cougars, Nick Maki led four players in double figures scoring with 15 points. Cody Maki netted 14 points and like Nick, recorded six assists, while Greg Seppanen tossed in 12 markers and Jake Aho contributed 10.
The Cougars, displaying quickness and good ball movement on offense, played the Modeltowners head to head in the first half.
"We just weren't talking on defense," Nyquist said. "We didn't know where (the Cougars') cuts were coming from."
Added Sinnaeve: "The kids were lazy on defense. They weren't in position and weren't communicating.
"Not having DeVooght - one of our top defenders - didn't help."
SC trailed just 55-51 with 1:35 left in the third quarter when Gwinn scored seven unanswered points for a 62-51 advantage. Morse buried a triple during the surge.
"That was the turning point," Jenkins said. "The game just got out of hand then. Good teams do that."
Said Sinnaeve: "Once our lead got to 11, the kids played with more confidence."
Gwinn got a 3-point bucket from Mottes for a 72-53 lead with 5:30 left in the game and never looked back.
There was no JV game played.