Braves carve up the glass, rout Westwood

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone boys presented themselves with plenty of extra scoring chances Monday as they cruised to a 63-44 basketball triumph over the Westwood Patriots.

Gladstone, which collected 21 offensive rebounds, held a 44-26 advantage on the boards in this non-conference match-up on Parents’ Night.

“That was a great win,” said Braves’ coach Dale Hongisto. “I’m excited about how hard we competed. Overall, we were bigger than they were. I think our size made a difference.”

The Braves (7-9) grabbed 17 offensive boards and committed just two turnovers in the first half, gaining a 32-19 advantage at the intermission.

“We played little bit of selfish ball tonight,” said Westwood coach Ryan Reichel. “Our game plan was to take the ball to the hole and draw fouls, and for whatever reason the kids decided to become more of a perimeter shooting team tonight. Although, Dale always gets his kids to play hard. They packed it in the paint, and we didn’t move the ball as well as we liked. That forced us to shoot from outside, which is not our style of basketball.”

Gladstone led just 17-15 early in the second quarter, then scored 12 unaswered points for an insurmoutable 29-15 advantage.

The Braves scored 12 points on offensive boards in the first half, including a putback by senior center Jared Hunter which gave them their 14-point cushion with 52 seconds left in the second quarter.

Gladstone, which substituted freely after the intermission, led by as much as 55-30 on a lay-in by senior forward Christian Groleau with six seconds left in the third frame.

Hunter finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior back-up center Max Mahoney added 11 points and seven boards in a reserve role. Junior forward Tyler Wells also had 11 points.

“I thought Max did a great job on the boards,” said Hongisto. “He played like a young man possessed tonight.”

Senior guard Justin Luke paced Westwood (5-9) with 15 points. Classmate Luke Duquette led in rebounding with 10.

“To their credit, the Westwood kids played hard right to the end,” said Hongisto. “I think Ryan does a great job with his kids. They were just outmanned tonight.”

The Braves hit 25-of-69 field goals and 10-of-12 free throws and finished with 14 turnovers, with many of their miscues committed by the reserves.

“Lately, we’ve been pretty darn good at the line,” said Hongisto.

Westwood was 14-of-55 from the field and 10-of-12 from the line and had 19 miscues.

“We usually take better care of the ball,” said Reichel. “We’ve been averaging about 10 turnovers a game. I thought we had a good fourth quarter. We finally started attacking the basket. Our reserves give us a lot of effort in practice, and we got quality minutes from them tonight.”

Gladstone, which also won the jayvee game, hosts St. Ignace Wednesday. The Patriots host top-ranked Negaunee Wednesday.