Braves trample Emeralds

MANISTIQUE – The Gladstone Braves have had their share of struggles as of late, but Tuesday night’s 69-54 rout of the Manistique Emeralds should give them some much-needed momentum heading into the district tournament.

The Braves marched out to a 10-3 lead early in the contest. Manistique fought back a bit to close the first quarter, but Gladstone led from start to finish. the Braves led 17-11 after one, and broke it wide open before halftime.

Gladstone outscored the Emeralds 26-8 in the second quarter, and headed into the locker room with a 43-19 advantage.

“That second quarter really killed us,” said Manistique coach Todd Kangas. “We took way too many shots from outside, and didn’t hit a lot of them. And we gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds to those guys and they had inside shots galore.”

Kangas added that scoring 50 points is a pretty good game for the Emeralds, and giving up 26 in a quarter is just not what they wanted to happen.

The Braves’ bench got some solid minutes Tuesday night, and they helped to lead their team victory in the second half. Gladstone was up by 30 points at one point, but the Emeralds were able to bring it down to 15 late in the game.

“I thought our kids played well in the second half, and I think we answered a few questions,” Kangas said. “I think what we were able to do there is something we can build on.”

Conner Selling led all scorers with 26 points. Michael Cretens paced the Braves with 12 points, followed by Blake Ballard with 10.

“It was nice to play with some energy and get up and down the floor and get some easy shots,” said Gladstone coach Phil Griebel. “We played with good intensity on the defensive end. We had to get this win, we couldn’t come here and lose this game with the districts coming up.”

Gladstone (7-12) is idle until Monday when they take on Kingsford in the district opener. Manistique (5-14) resumes Thursday at Big Bay de Noc.