Braves respond, chop Patriots

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone Braves gave their fans a look at what can happen when everything comes together Thursday night. The Westwood girls found out there’s more to the game than just hard work.

Gladstone in a stunning display of dominance controlled play from the second quarter on in a 51-22 dismantling of the Patriots.

“It was a great show of character for our team. We had a difficult game here Tuesday night (a 48-44 loss to Ishpeming). Ishpeming deserved to win but I think we let that one get away from us,” said Braves coach karl Dollhopf. “It was interesting to see how the girls were going to respond and I couldn’t be prouder right now because not one or two of them responded, but all 10 of them did in a positive way. The effort they brought defensively was outstanding.”

Gladstone, holding a 14-6 lead after the first quarter, allowed just four points in the second quarter as Elizabeh Dauphinais and Katie Rankinen contributed buckets. The Braves (8-6) then turned the lights out on the Patriots (3-10), holding them without a point for the next 11 minutes. During that stretch, continuing over into the third quarter, the Braves embarked on a 21-0 run, putting the game well in hand.

Even at the start of the third quarter, the Braves defense continued to swarm the Patriots, generating steals and turnovers. Throughout the game, the Gladstone defense made it hard for Westwood to even get shots off. The Patriots turned the ball over 32 times and shot 6-for-33.

“It’s fun as a coach when you have that type of effort. It makes it real enjoyable,” said Dollhopf. “I really liked our intensity coming out of halftime. A lot of times, you have the tendency to relax. In the first four minutes we knew they would bring it at us and we handled it well.”

The agonizingly long scoring drought from Westwood was not for lack of effort. The Patriots received a few good looks but it was to no avail.

Patriots coach Kurt Corcoran though praising the hard work of his team, lamented the lack of intensity.

“My girls will always give 100-percent for 32 minutes. That’s not a question. But they also need to understand that they have to be mentally ready for every game,” he said. “We were off tonight. We were missing our second and third gear, which is what we thrive on. If we don’t have that, it’s going to be a long season. We were making mental errors that we haven’t made since the beginning of the season.”

Westwood finally got back on the board with just over one minute remaining in the third quarter when Alexis Nelson hit a triple as the Westwood bench erupted in cheers.

The Braves were led in scoring by Alexis St. Cyr, who scored 11 points off the bench. Christine Sharon added another 10 points off the bench and provided a key physical and intense effort. Anna Wulf scored eight points with five steals and five rebounds and Jess Beaudry scored eight points with five rebounds.

“(Sharon) is definitely an intense player who brings a lot of energy,” said Dollhopf. “Her and several others give us what we needed.”

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Patriots. They have a quick turnaround with a game tonight at Manistique.

“We just need to forget about this one and get back to the grind. We have games Friday, Monday and Tuesday,” Corcoran said. “These things are going to happen. We just have to persevere and play through out and learn from our mistakes. We have to learn how important it is to bring that mental toughness every single game because we aren’t talented enough to not bring our mental game with us.”

Gladstone, which also won the jayvee game 46-36 and the freshman game 47-19, plays at Escanaba Tuesday night.