Eskymos’ defense stymies Gwinn boys, 71-53

GwinnÕs Caleb Anderson, center, puts up a layup around EscanabaÕs Jared Nash, right, and Austin Willette, second from left, as the Eskymos' Craig Kamin looks on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, at Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

ESCANABA — Escanaba clamped down defensively on Gwinn in a decisive third quarter to win 71-53 in a high school boys basketball game played Tuesday night.

The Eskymos had built a 36-29 lead at halftime after the Modeltowners had erased an eight-point deficit during the second period.

Then an energized Esky defense held Gwinn to just five points in the third.

“I think our 1-3-1 (defense) bothered them,” Esky coach Tracy Hudson said. “We made some adjustments at the half.”

Escanaba (11-7) also scored 20 points in the third to take a 56-34 lead heading to the fourth.

“We went inside out. We really wanted to attack inside,” Hudson said. “We were very efficient offensively.”

The Modeltowners (6-13) struggled early as Esky took a 7-1 barely more than two minutes into the game. But Gwinn responded to tie it 7-7 with 3:40 left in the opening period.

Escanaba pulled away again in the last two minutes of the quarter to take a 20-12 lead after one.

Gwinn’s Tucker Taylor consistently found the basket in the first quarter for six of his team’s dozen first-quarter points.

“Tucker Taylor really got loose around the free throw line,” Hudson said. “He was really able to do some damage.”

The Modeltowners trailed during the second quarter until Mastin Love hit two free throws with 2:33 left in the frame to tie it 25-25. Then the Eskymos stepped up and finished the half on an 11-4 run.

“We kept our defensive pressure on them, and that’s how we pulled away,” Hudson said.

The fourth quarter saw a renewed offensive push from the Modeltowners, but the smallest their deficit reached was 18 points.

“They have some real star power, with two 1,000-point scorers (in) Tucker Taylor and Austin Forbes,” Hudson said. “I think they’re very good offensively.”

Taylor and James Harnick led Gwinn with 16 points, while Forbes added 13.

Peyton Fedell was Esky’s leading scorer with a career-high 20 points. Jared Nash scored 16 and Austin Willette finished with 13.

Esky won the JV game 41-32.