Fast start propels Gladstone past Ishpeming

Ishpeming's Hart Holmgren, left, pump fakes against Gladstone's Reece Castor during the third quarter of their high school boys basketball game played Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Gladstone. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Avery Bundgaard)

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone boys basketball team got off to a fast start in its opener and never looked back Tuesday as the Braves helped first-year coach Dane Quigley get a 77-67 victory in his debut.

“It’s a load off my chest,” Quigley said about his varsity opener. “I would be lying if I said I came in here and I wasn’t anxious and nervous.”

The duo of Reece Castor and Brad Spindler looked like they were in midseason form as Castor scored 21 points, while Spindler took control in the second half when he scored 17 of his team-high 28 points.

Ishpeming was led by Hart Holmgren with 32 points and did all he could to keep his team in the game.

“He had a chip on his shoulders and with that slow start he kind of thought he needed to step up his offense,” Ishpeming coach Anthony Katona said. “It definitely helped us out a lot. He brought the team together and got us going there in the first half.”

Dondre Yohe scored 12 for the Hematites while Darius Yohe added 10.

The Braves came out with a lot of energy, depending on their tough pressure defense to pull out to a 14-0 lead. The Braves held the Hematites 0 for 5 from the field during that run and forced seven turnovers in the first quarter.

Ishpeming settled down after that, finishing the first quarter 5 for 11 from the floor and trailed the Braves 25-12 headed to the second quarter.

“We just had to stick with it,” Katona said. “Our guys usually make those shots, so it was just first-game jitters for us. Hopefully we got that out of the way now for the rest of the season. We kept on … executing like we normally do and our shots started to fall.”

Gladstone, which maintained its 13-point lead to take a 35-22 lead at halftime, didn’t slow down in the third quarter by relying on Spindler’s 10 points and eight each from Castor and Rudy Peterson to up their lead to 63-44 entering the final eight minutes.

Ishpeming hosts Westwood on Friday night.