Controlling the stars: Superior Central limits Gwinn’s offensive stalwarts in 57-45 boys basketball win

Gwinn’s Caleb Anderson, left, grabs the ball with Superior Central’s Roubens Fink defending on Thursday evening at the Cougars’ gym in Eben. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

EBEN JUNCTION — Senior Wade Krysiak tallied 21 points to help the Superior Central boys basketball team end 2017 on a high note, defeating Gwinn 57-45 in a nonconference game at the Cougars’ gym on Thursday night.

The Cougars moved to 3-2 this season while the Modeltowners fell to 1-6.

Superior Central head coach Branson Richard said the key to victory was shutting down the star power the Modeltowners possess.

“It was a great game and our defense really stepped it up,” he said. “Nathan (Frusti) did an amazing job holding Tucker (Taylor) and contesting all of his shots. Nathan ended up fouling out and Levi (Charlebois) came in and did a really good job taking over for that.

“Beau (Rondeau) did an amazing job on (Austin) Forbes. Both Tucker and Forbes are heck of ball players and our strategy was to shut them down and I feel like we did a really good job of that.”

Richard added that he looks forward to a break of a week and a half as the Cougars won’t play again until a week into the new year.

“It’ll be nice,” he said. “I told the guys to enjoy it but be smart. I’m proud of my guys.”

SC senior Joe Heinonen said it was nice to play well in front of a full home crowd.

“We shot well from the field, took advantage of turnovers and didn’t turn the ball over,” he said. “We’re pulling a lot of people (in to watch) more and more every game. I know our attendance has been down the last couple of years, but more and more people are seeing how good the team is.”

Gwinn head coach Jim Finkbeiner said the opportunity to pick up a win slipped after not capitalizing on chances down the stretch.

“We’re all disappointed, nobody wants to lose,” he said. “But what we’re disappointed more in is how we didn’t finish. We ran our sets, we ran everything we wanted to run and got good looks, but we couldn’t finish at the basket.

“That’s the really disappointing part is that you know you gave yourselves opportunities to win this basketball game. In the context of the game, when we were up four (points), we could’ve been up 12 by making easy shots. We played good defense tonight, just couldn’t finish.”

The first half was closely contested with neither team building a lead of more than five points. The lead changed hands three times in the first half and six times overall.

Heinonen on a traditional three-point play and junior teammate Beau Rondeau with a bucket gave the Cougars a quick 5-0 lead.

Trailing 7-2, Gwinn went on a 7-0 run on baskets by sophomore Caleb Anderson, junior Jacob Porubsky and Taylor to give the Modeltowners their first lead. The Cougars came right back with a 3-pointer from Krysiak to put SC up 10-9 at the end of the first quarter.

With the score remaining close throughout the second quarter, Gwinn held a narrow 26-25 margin at the half. The sides traded leads again in the third with the quarter ending in a 35-35 stalemate.

The fourth quarter started with another and-one play, with junior Roubens Fink sinking a 2-point basket and the free throw to complete the 3-point play and put the Cougars up 38-35.

After Rondeau drained a 3-pointer and was followed by a 2-pointer from Charlebois, Superior Central had built a 45-36 advantage and never looked back.

The Modeltowners were held to 10 points in the fourth quarter, seven coming at the free throw line.

Heinonen added 12 points for the Cougars while Rondeau had 11. Taylor led the Modeltowners with 21 points while Forbes had eight and Anderson seven.

Gwinn travels to Gladstone on Jan. 5, while SC resumes action at Rock on Jan. 8 to take on Mid Peninsula.

Gwinn won the JV game 45-39.

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