Robinette, Eskymos hammer Kingsford

KINGSFORD – Brandon Robinette scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the first quarter, and Escanaba never looked back, dropping Kingsford 67-48 in the Great Northern Conference opener for both squads.

“He’s obviously a special player,” Flivvers coach Dan Olkkonen said. “Not everybody puts up 34 against Negaunee. Our goal was to hold him to 18. Well, he had 17 at the half.”

Robinette ignited the Eskymos to a 13-point first-quarter lead. The game was as good as decided by halftime, with Escanaba (1-1, 1-0) up 16 at the break. A 6-0 spurt early in the third helped pushed the advantage to 20 points.

“Robinette is one of our senior leaders, and he got us off to a great start,” Escanaba coach Tracy Hudson said. “This was big for us, first game on the road in the GNC.”

Escanaba’s pressure and up-tempo transition game was too much for the Flivvers to handle. The Eskymos also owned the glass, especially on the offensive side. Escanaba out-rebound Kingsford 34-20 in the game.

“That’s where he (Robinette) really hurt us, as an offensive rebounder,” Olkkonen said. “We were really upset with ourselves on the defensive glass.”

Three Eskymos scored in double figures. Samuel Molnar dropped 11 and Jordan Ogren scored 10. Tyler Skufca canned three triples for nine points. The Eskymos shared the wealth too, racking up 17 assists and seeing eight players hit the scoresheet.

Dan Harrington’s 14 points led Kingsford. Jack Glodowski added 13 points, but the Flivvers shot 25 percent for the game, and were just 5-of-26 from 3-point range.

“Being down 18-5 after the first really put the pressure on ourselves,” Olkkonen said. “A team like that can throw up points quick. I was hoping we’d come out and shoot a little better.”

Escanaba’s first-quarter push provided more than enough cushion. Kingsford played a much better second quarter, even threatening to cut the lead to under 10 on a couple of occasions, but the Eskymos scored eight of the final 11 points of the half.

“We’re an experienced team playing against a less experienced team in Kingsford,” Hudson said. “Coach Olkkonen, give him a while with these guys. They were playing against team that has been playing together for the past two years. I thought Kingsford played extremely hard. It was just one of those things. Our press was able to get us some easy baskets.”

Escanaba’s biggest lead came at 67-41 after a putback by Bailey Lamb early in the fourth quarter. Esky’s starters sat most of the final frame.

Kingsford slipped to 0-2 (0-1).

“We’re going to get better,” Olkkonen said. “The biggest thing is defensively we have to step it up.”

Escanaba won the frosh game 45-31. Kingsford, with Nick Smith scoring 15, took the jayvee contest 50-45.

Kingsford hosts Negaunee Tuesday.