Wiedenhoefer leads Gwinn boys over Ishpeming

Ishpeming High School's Hart Holmgren dribbles past Gwinn High School's Reed Wiedenhoefer for a layup Wednesday night, Dec. 14, 2016, at Ishpeming High School. (Journal photo by Jess Makela)

ISHPEMING — Reed Wiedenhoefer’s fourth-quarter heroics helped Gwinn High School head coach Jim Finkbeiner earn his first varsity win Wednesday night in a 65-52 boys basketball victory at Ishpeming.

Finkbeiner, whose team started 0-2 and suffered a 27-point loss to Iron Mountain last week, said his team was determined to turn around the ship against the Hematites.

“After you lose a few games, you wonder when the win is going to come,” he said. “You look to see how your kids will respond to a tough loss, and our guys rebounded well after last week.

“The turning point for us was our defensive play, and we came out with the focus to stay in the whole game and put forth the effort to finally earn a win.”

Gwinn pumped in 15 straight points to open the fourth quarter, 10 scored by the 6-foot-5 Weidenhoefer along with two rebounds.

That put the Modeltowners ahead by seven and gave them their first lead since early in the second quarter. Then they never looked back.

Weidenhoefer finished with a team-high 24 points, just shy of top game honors as Ishpeming’s Hart Holmgren scored 26.

The teams traded baskets and the lead for most of the first half until a triple by Holmgren put the Hematites ahead 31-26 at halftime.

The Modeltowners continued to chip away at Ishpeming’s lead throughout the third quarter, as their defensive rebounding was strong while forcing turnovers, too.

For their part, the Hematites found success drawing fouls in the paint whenever the Modeltowners started to gain momentum, earning four timely trips to the free-throw line.

A triple from Austin Forbes drew Gwinn within two points of Ishpeming with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter, but a traditional three-point play with a layup and free throw by Ishpeming’s Dondre Yohe gave his team a 43-38 lead heading to the final eight minutes.

Gwinn’s defense clamped down in the fourth, creating four straight turnovers to open the quarter.

Weidenhoefer spurred his team’s offense to make it 53-43 Modeltowners with nearly four minutes remaining.

The home team tried to battle back, highlighted with a steal by Holmgren to get quick back-to-back baskets and make it a six-point game. But Forbes answered with two 3-pointers and the Modeltowners had eight free-throw attempts in the quarter to give them some breathing room.

Ishpeming head coach Anthony Katona, also a first-year head coach, said his team didn’t respond as enthusiastically as needed as the game neared its end.

“We shot ourselves out of the game, Gwinn hit their open shots and had some nice penetrations from their guards,” Katona said. “They made tough shots, and we gave them too many opportunities.

“As we move along, we have to make sure we stick to our game plan, move the game around and stop playing lackadaisical on offense.”

Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. His email address is rbressette@miningjournal.net.