Boys basketball: Gladstone sinks Flivvers in semifinals
KINGSFORD — The Kingsford Flivvers might see Brad Spindler in their sleep for a while.
The senior forward amassed 30 points and 14 rebounds as Gladstone downed Kingsford 73-53 in a Class B District 64 semifinal on Wednesday.
The Braves (16-5) will host Boyne City (16-6) for the district championship Friday. The Flivvers finished their season at 9-11, with three of the losses coming at the hands of the Braves.
“Spindler, Spindler and a little bit more than Spindler,” said Kingsford coach Dan Olkkonen. “There’s a reason why he was put up for player of the year in the conference. He was really a load inside.”
Spindler scored 19 points in the first half when the Braves moved to a 38-24 advantage. He also drained three triples along with clicking inside.
“Brad had a heck of a game,” said Gladstone coach Dan Quigley. “He’s added that three-point shot to his repertoire of tricks. He played down low and didn’t do a lot of that (outside shooting) last year. He’s an excellent shooter when he gets going.”
Reece Castor had 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists when Gladstone defeated rival Escanaba 81-72 on Monday. The senior tallied 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists on Wednesday.
“How dangerous a team are we where you can have any guy go off?” Quigley said.
Gladstone’s Jared Ness added 11 points and six rebounds. Rudy Peterson had nine points. Carson Shea drove the baseline and floated in a couple shots when the Flivvers made a third-quarter run.
“When you get a guy like Spindler, you try to do a team-type of defense,” Olkkonen said. “Dan and his staff did an awesome job of coaching. Those guys like Shea and (Braeden) Lamberg would appear on different spots when we would double-team.
“When you have a really good team like that and they play together and see each other so well, it’s difficult.”
Olkkonen compared the Braves to a smooth-operating men’s league team.
“They aren’t flashy. They didn’t press,” Olkkonen said. “They just played really good team basketball.
“In this game tonight they were definitely the best team that we’ve played all year.”
Quigley said his Braves will need more than Spindler, Castor and Peterson to make an extended tournament run.
“We’ve been so fortunate with the guys that step up and kind of be that fourth option which we really need going into the playoffs,” Quigley said. “That fourth option makes us really dangerous.”
Spindler scored 22 points in each of the regular season victories over the Flivvers. Castor had games of 18 and 14.
Luke Terrian led the Flivvers with 20 points and Tyler Beauchamp had 18 in Monday’s district semifinal. In the regular season, Terrian had a pair of 13-point games against the Braves while Beauchamp struck for 29 and 30.
Lamberg was assigned to Beauchamp and Castor drew Terrian for the first time this season.
“That’s kind have been our X factor,” Quigley said of Lamberg on Beauchamp. “When Beauchamp gets going he can put over 30 easily. I thought he did an excellent job. Reece kept Terrian in check for most of the game.”
Kingsford threatened to slash Gladstone’s lead to single digits in the third quarter. But the Braves still managed a 61-44 advantage starting the fourth.
“We’re a team that has battled all year long and we fight to the end,” Olkkonen said. “We just never got those defensive stops in a row that would help us on our offensive side.
“We started the second half with missed inside shots. I don’t think we shot particularly well tonight.”
Gladstone shot 27 of 53 (51 percent) from the floor and didn’t miss any of its 12 free throws. The Braves also tallied 30 rebounds and 13 turnovers.
Quigley already has a scouting report on the Ramblers.
“They don’t engage in high-scoring battles and they like to play a lot of zone,” Quigley said. “We’re a pretty hard squad to defend with a zone but that’s something they’ve been doing all year.”
The Flivvers will say good-bye to seniors Chase Kreski, Ethan LaVarnway, Brad VanRemortel, Matt Swanson and Liam Gayan.
“The seniors are great,” Olkkonen said. “I can’t say enough. Those guys helped us through some difficult times this year. This was one of the most fun teams to be around regardless of our record. Those seniors left their imprint on our program. They can be proud of themselves for what they did. I congratulate them and wish them well in the future.”
The Flivver future looks bright with Terrian and Beauchamp back next season for their senior campaigns. Starters Andrew Mann and Nate Rutter are also back.
“I like having those those guys back,” Olkkonen said. “I’m looking forward to the roles they’re going to take on next year.”
Kingsford 14 10 20 9 — 53
Gladstone 21 17 23 12 — 73
KINGSFORD (53): Kreski 8, LaVarnway 1, Terrian 20, Londo 2, Beauchamp 18, Mann 2, Galeazzi 2. FT: 11-16. F: 11. 3PT: Terrian 2, Beauchamp 2.
GLADSTONE (73): Lamberg 4, Shea 4, Peterson 9, Spindler 30, Hanson 2, Ness 11, Castor 13. FT: 12-12. F: 14 (Lamberg fouled out). 3PT: Peterson, Spindler 3, Ness 3.