Gladstone uses strong first quarter to top Ishpeming boys

Dennis Grall | Escanaba Daily Press Quinn Downey (14) of Gladstone found a free lane to the basket Tuesday but he didnÕt account for 6-foot-8 Darius Yohe of Ishpeming, who came from behind to block his shot at Gladstone.

GLADSTONE — Getting off to a fast start was the first thing the Gladstone boys wanted to do Tuesday night.

They did just that in a 64-39 basketball victory over the Ishpeming Hematites.

The fourth-ranked Braves, winners of six straight, led 22-7 after the first quarter of the Mid-Peninsula Conference contest.

“Getting the tempo up was important,” said Braves’ coach Dane Quigley. “They had the long bus ride and got here a little late because of the weather. We thought maybe we could jump on them early. All our guys are stepping up. Only, you got to make sure you don’t get complacent. You’ve got to come out with energy every night. Fortunately for us we’ve been able to get some big quarters. We’ve also been doing a nice job sticking together when another team has made a run.”

Ishpeming made its run in the second stanza, closing within 28-21 on a jump shot from the lane by 6-foot-8 senior forward Darius Yohe.

Gladstone finished the second with 13 unanswered points, gaining a 41-21 hafltime advantage on a buzzer-beating 22-foot jumper by senior guard Quinn Downey.

“We were getting some good looks in the first quarter, but weren’t hitting the shots,” said Ishpeming coach Tony Katona. “We had a chance to get within five points in the second quarter, then we started turning the ball over and it went from seven to 17 very quickly.”

The Hematites trimmed their deficit to 43-27 on a 22-foot jumper by senior guard Gavin Sundberg midway through the third frame. The Braves, however, didn’t allow them to get any closer.

Ishpeming had some difficulty against Gladstone’s 1-3-1 zone press, but committed just 10 turnovers. The Braves had eight miscues.

“The 1-3-1 has really worked well for us lately,” said Quigley. “It helps us pick up the tempo of the game. Even if teams don’t turn the ball over, they have to work hard against that press. It tends to force them to take quick shots.”

Senior guard Reece Castor collected 24 points and six assists for the Braves (8-5 overall, 7-3 M-PC). Downey added 10 points and three steals. Senior guard Carson Shea and sophomore forward Rane Castor had 10 points apiece. They host Menominee Friday.

Yohe finished with 16 points and Sundberg had 11 for the Hematites (5-6 overall, 2-6 league), who travel to Houghton Tuesday.

Gladstone also won the jayvee game 53-13 and freshman contest 60-20.