Boys basketball: Flivvs win, end 5-game losing streak

Kingsford's Gavin Londo (24) looks for a way around Houghton's Elliott Majlessi (5) in Thursday's game. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

KINGSFORD — Houghton caught Kingsford at a bad time Thursday.

The Flivvers (8-8), not in the best of moods in trying to shake a five-game losing streak, downed the Gremlins 48-33 in non-conference boys basketball.

“We got off the loss train,” said Kingsford head coach Dan Olkkonen. “After the last five losses in a row we had a little chip on our shoulder about getting a win.”

The young Gremlins (6-9) trailed by just nine with 4:43 left in the game despite plenty of miscues.

“Turnovers, unforced turnovers,” said Houghton head coach Jared Lawson, who figured a stat sheet with 16 was off by five or so. “Those were so critical in the game. You don’t get a shot and it goes right back to defense. That’s probably 20 missed-shot opportunities and we’re not getting a lot anyway with our style.”

Flivver juniors Luke Terrian and Tyler Beauchamp carried the offense with 21 and 17 points, respectively. But it was the defense of senior Chase Kreski that really stood out.”

Kreski was assigned to guard 6-foot-5 sophomore Brad Sirard, who scored 18 points in the Gremlins’ season-opening loss to the Flivvers. He scored three on Thursday before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.

“Brad Sirard is a real good player who can shoot from anywhere,” Olkkonen said. “I told Chase, “I don’t care if you score a point on offense. It doesn’t matter. We want you to shadow.’

“Chase did a tremendous job. When you get that kind of defensive effort and put that much into it, it picks everybody else up when they realize how hard he’s playing.”

Olkkonen added that Houghton “ran a ton of screens for Sirard.”

“Chase is pretty sore,” Olkkonen said. “He probably thought he played a football game.”

Houghton runs a deliberate offense, another factor in the low-scoring game.

“I was really pleased with our (man-to-man) defensive effort,” said Olkkonen, citing Andrew Mann and Terrian on the inside. “Andrew Mann has been doing a great job the last couple weeks of taking charges and the same with Luke Terrian.”

Houghton trailed 21-16 at halftime and 35-26 after three quarters. A Sam Keskimaki bucket cut the fourth-quarter difference to 37-28 with 4:43 remaining.

But the Flivvers fired back with nine straight points — eight by Terrian — for a 46-28 lead at 2:30.

“Kingsford always plays real good defense,” Lawson said.

Sophomore Nate Brundage led Houghton with 10 points. Keskimaki and George Butvilas, both juniors, each chipped in nine.

“I’m not discouraged,” Lawson said. “We’ve been working on things for the last couple weeks and I’ve seen improvement.

“We have to do a better job of getting those possessions back (after turnovers). We’re trying to slow those possessions down and make those possessions count.”

The Gremlins host Escanaba tonight while the Flivvers welcome Menominee on Monday.

“I’ll play these games all the time,” Lawson said of playing bigger schools like the Flivvers and Eskymos. “You’re only going to get better. It can be frustrating but we’re keeping our heads above the fray.”

Kingsford won the junior varsity and freshmen games.

Houghton 6 10 10 7 — 33

Kingsford 9 12 14 13 — 48

HOUGHTON (33): Keskimaki 9, Butvilas 9, Majlessi 2, Brundage 10, Sirard 3. FT: 3-4. F: 20 (Keskimaki and Sirard fouled out). 3PT: Keskimaki, Butvilas, Brundage 3, Sirard.

KINGSFORD (48): Kreski 2, VanRemortel 2, Terrian 21, Beauchamp 17, Mann 3, Gayan 3. FT: 8-18. F: 9. 3PT: Terrian 2, Beauchamp 4.

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