Gladstone advances in Class B boys basketball regionals

SAULT STE. MARIE — Gladstone enjoyed winning a Class B boys district basketball title last week.

But a regional championship would be even sweeter this week for the Braves, who took the first step Monday night with a hard-fought 74-69 semifinal win against Grayling at Sault High School.

“We talked to the kids about not settling,” Gladstone coach Clayton Castor said. “I think sometimes teams may settle for a district title. But we really want to separate ourselves from some of the teams that came before us and go as far as we can.

“We know we will see a Ludington or Clare team that is really well coached and have great programs. We’re just looking for a real competitive game.”

Gladstone (18-5) will face Ludington at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Grayling after the Orioles (22-2) advanced with a 62-45 win over Clare in a game played at Cadillac.

The Braves received a competitive game from Grayling on a night perimeter shots were flying by both teams from start to finish.

Gladstone sank 11 3-pointers and relied on consecutive triples by Brad Spindler, Jack Stephenson and Rudy Peterson near the end of the third quarter. Those big shots helped Gladstone erase a 49-47 deficit and give the Braves a 56-50 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Grayling could get no closer than three points in final period as the Braves went to a patient passing game to run down the clock and force the Vikings to foul. Gladstone sealed the win by making 7 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes.

Spindler and Reece Castor each scored 22 points to lead the Braves. Troy Summers, a 6-foot-8 senior center headed to Northern Michigan University, paced Grayling with 20 points and 11 rebounds despite getting tagged with two quick fouls at the start of the game.