Redmen top Braves, 61-47

Raffy Millado of Marquette soars over Gladstone defender Reece Castor as he drives in for a shot Tuesday at Gladstone. Marquette won 61-47. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Dennis Grall)

By AUSTIN

HEMMINGSON

Escanaba Daily Press

GLADSTONE — For one quarter, Gladstone’s Reece Castor couldn’t be stopped. However, Marquette made adjustments and held Castor scoreless in the second half on its way to a 61-47 win here Tuesday in a Great Northern Conference game.

Castor scored 11 of his 15 points in the second quarter to lead a 24-point charge that put the Braves up 31-28 at halftime. But the Redmen keyed in on the Northern Michigan University commit after the break and dominated the second half to pull away.

Marius Grazulis of Marquette reaches for a pass Tuesday in the low post as he is defended by Jared Crow of Gladstone. Marquette won 61-47. (Escanaba Daiy Press photo by Dennis Grall)

“In the first half, Reece (Castor) got a full head of steam,” Redmen coach Brad Nelson said. “He was going free throw line to free throw line without much resistance. When a player like him gets going, he’s hard to stop.

“At halftime we talked about limiting him in the open court and on breakaways. Our team defense was much better in the second half. 80 percent of the time we were sliding in perfectly to help.”

Grand Valley State commit Marius Grazilus was also featured much more for the Redmen in the second half, dominating inside and stepping out to hit the occasional three-pointer. The 6’10 big man finished the game with 27 points.

“We wanted to get the ball to him (Grazilus) more in the second half,” Nelson said. “We made it a point of emphasis to get him the ball. Our ball reversal was better so we could feed it into him from the wing.”

Getting the ball into Grazilus also resulted in more free throw attempts, as he shot 11 times from the charity stripe. It also got Braves’ big man Jared Crow into foul trouble, who fouled out with 5:10 left in the game.

The Redmen began the second half on a 9-2 run to force the Braves into calling a timeout with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter. After the Braves fought back to tie the game at 38 on a three by Rane Castor, the Redmen finished the quarter on an 8-2 run to go back up by six entering the fourth.

“We had some opportunities where we didn’t secure the ball at the beginning of the second half,” Braves’ coach Dane Quigley said. “I think we only had 10 turnovers in the game but the turnovers we did have came at a bad time. We knew they (Redmen) were going to come after us in the second half.”

The Redmen began the fourth on a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach. Their run was finally stopped by a couple free throws by Gladstone’s Carson Shea with 2:31 left — the Braves’ first points of the quarter.

Asked about the struggles of the offense in the second half with Reece Castor being keyed in on, Quigley said he thought his team had the right mindset.

“A lot of guys took more shots than they usually do,” Quigley said. “Now we just have to focus on shot selection and making those shots.”

Quigley went on to say he was satisfied with the effort of his team after being upset by Manistique Friday.

“We always want to win,” he said. “But if there’s a moral victory we can take away from this game, it’s that we played pretty well against one of the best teams in the U.P. I thought it was critical for us to bounce back and come out and play with more energy tonight.”

The Redmen jumped out to a 13-3 lead on a jumper by Bryce Brazeau with 2:17 to go in the first quarter before the Braves went on a 10-0 run of their own to tie the game at 13 with 4:42 left until halftime.

Shea gave the Braves their first lead at 16-15 on a three with 4:01 remaining. Reece Castor hit a jumper with 30 seconds left and then found Shea on the fast break for a layup just in time to beat the halftime buzzer to give the Braves all the momentum going into the locker room.

“I could tell my guys were thinking too much,” Nelson said. “At halftime I reminded them basketball is not a thinking sport — it’s a reactionary sport. You have to be able to react.”

Grazilus led the Redmen with 27 points and Brazeau chipped in with 10.

Ethan Martysz came up big, hitting three three-pointers for his nine points.

Reece Castor led the Braves with 15 points, while his brother Rane Castor and Shea each added nine.

Marquette plays at Traverse City Central Friday.

Gladstone, who won the jayvee game 69-62, visits rival Escanaba Friday.

Quigley said the Braves will start preparing for the Eskymos today.

“We’ve had a motto of taking it game-by-game,” he said.

“But it is a rivalry, and we’ll talk about it tomorrow at practice. We’ll be prepared to play.”