Braves boosted by Beaudry

GLADSTONE – Riding a strong third quarter run and a big game from forward Jess Beaudry, Gladstone defeated Sault Ste. Marie 58-47 on Saturday in a non-conference basketball match-up.

The Blue Devils used a five-point run to cut their deficit to 52-46 with 6:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Braves ended the run on the next possession, as point guard Alexis St. Cyr found Beaudry on the block for two points.

On Gladstone’s next trip down, Beaudry once again camped out on the block. She grabbed her own miss and scored two of her season-high 18 points, to give the Braves a 10-point lead.

“We couldn’t really match-up with Beaudry inside, she’s a nice player and we just couldn’t handle her inside and that killed us,” said Blue Devils head coach Pat Bennin. “She had some big buckets when they needed them. We would get a little bit of a run and it seemed like she would score a big bucket.”

After Beaudry’s final basket, the Braves (12-6) defense held Sault Ste. Marie (12-5) to a single free-throw, en-route to capturing their fifth straight victory.

“It was kind of one of those were you grind it out,” said Braves head coach Karl Dollhopf. “We had a hard time getting separation and then when we did we were able to sustain it but not really increase it. Hats off to the Sault, I thought whenever we separated they came firing back and made some big shots.”

After a back-and-forth first half, the Braves opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run, extending their lead to 40-24 with 3:43 left in the third. The Blue Devils responded with a 9-0 run of their own, paced by Emma Roque who scored five straight points and recorded two steals. Bennin said his team, who was playing their third game in four days, couldn’t overcome the deficit.

“I thought the first four minutes of the third quarter was really killer to us. We got down by 16 at that point,” Bennin said. “It’s pretty tough to comeback. I give our kids credit, they battled back and cut it to six but we just expended too much energy and couldn’t do it.”

Beaudry sunk a pair of free throws to end the Blue Devils run. Sault High switched to a two-three zone on their next trip down and Bridget Becker responded with a 3-pointer to extend Gladstone’s lead to 45-33 with 54 seconds left in the third.

The Braves, who have now won five straight games, abandoned their man-to-man defense in favor of a two-three zone midway through the second quarter when St. Cyr picked up her third foul. The Braves also called off the press in order to cut back on their fouls.

“We played a little more zone than I wanted to but it worked out and we made shots and between Callie Jensen, Bridget Becker and Jess Beaudry there was a lot of scoring power there,” Dollhopf said. “I thought Lexi Hongisto had a couple of really nice drives and people scored when they had to.”

Gladstone won the jayvee contest 52-40. The Braves are back in play Tuesday as they travel to Kingsford.