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Escanaba powers past Flivvers

(Terry Raiche photo) Kingsford's Brody Kopp (12) leaps towards the basket in the second half, as Escanaba's Trevor Brown (40) defends and Carter Hudson (24) looks on, in Saturday afternoon's Great Northern Conference game at the Kingsford Middle School gym.

KINGSFORD — Balanced scoring and depth are things that the Escanaba boys basketball team has relied upon this season. Saturday afternoon was no different, as the Eskymos, behind a game-high 20 points off the bench from junior Colin Hudson, defeated Kingsford 60-45 in Great Northern Conference actions at the Kingsford Middle School gym.

The Flivvers came out running up and down the floor with their customary fast-paced offense, which got them out to an early 9-5 lead. The early energy from the home team had the undefeated and Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association No. 1-ranked Eskymos reeling a bit due to fatigue from having played at Sault Ste. Marie on Friday night.

After an Escanaba timeout with a little over three minutes remaining in the first stanza, the visitors from Delta County went on a dominating 14-0 scoring run to end the quarter with a 10-point lead.

“Today, I think we showed that a strength of our team is that we can push other buttons to be successful,” Escanaba head coach Tracy Hudson said. “Their big guy (Zach Person) did an excellent job on Carter Hudson. Plus, we knew they were going to press us with their energetic style of play.”

As the second quarter began, the Flivvers used another burst of energy on both ends of the floor to get themselves back into the basketball game.

Escanaba’s offense faltered a bit in the second quarter. However, they maintained a six-point lead into the half.

The seesawing third quarter was the most competitive of the game, and the home team had Escanaba’s lead to under five points at the midway point of the quarter.

“Our energy was great today. For us to be able to play in front of more than only a few fans like were up until now, it was great for everyone,” Kingsford head coach Dan Olkkonen said. “We made big strides in where we are at as a team. We played a good game against a great team. Definitely a confidence builder for us today.”

Olkkonen, like Coach Hudson, noted the strong defensive of Person guarding Carter Hudson, “He did an awesome job in the post, guarding a player like (Carter) Hudson.”

Andrew Paupore led the Flivvers with 13 points, with nine from behind the three-point arc, and Brody Kopp chipped in 12 points after aggressive pushes to the basket.

“Paupore is always a spark for us. Plus, with Escanaba’s ranking, it gave all of us a bit of extra energy today,” Olkkonen said. “I hope we get to play them in the District championship game. That’s a goal for us.”

Coach Hudson noted that keys to the game for the Eskymos were Colin Hudson’s play off the bench and the strong leadership and play of Brandon Frazer down the stretch.

Another previously mentioned aspect of the Eskymos team, which is certainly a strength, is their depth. Coach Hudson noted that he and the coaching staff are able to use eight players in almost any combination and situation.

“We really have eight starters,” Coach Hudson exclaimed. “Our depth is more than probably all of the other GNC teams, and that has helped us a lot.

“Today was a quality win for us, and we did what we had to. Plus, our defense was very sound in the second half,” Coach Hudson added. “Kingsford always plays hard, especially against us it seems.”

Escanaba, which improved to 11-0 (5-0 GNC), travels to non-conference foe Iron Mountain on Tuesday for a matchup of the top two ranked teams in Division 1-3 of the U.P.S.S.A. U.P. basketball poll. Tip-off from the Mountaineer Gymnasium is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Central.

The Flivvers, which slip to 7-4 (2-3 GNC), remain home and host GNC opponent Menominee on Monday night.

In the JV contest, Escanaba had four players score in double figures, led by Casey Bray with a game-high 22 points in a 66-51 win. Matthew Dykema drained 18 points for Escanaba, and teammate Trent Lawson chipped in 12 points.

The Flivvers had three JV players score in double figures. They were led by Ben Trevillian with 17 points. Cole Myllyla added 15 points, and Isaac Nash chipped in 12 points in the losing effort.

Cardell Norton poured in a game-high 29 points as the Flivver freshmen defeated Escanaba 55-52. Eli Wallis chipped in 11 points, while Jacob Markworth added 10 points for the Flivvers.

Shane Wallin led the Eskymos freshmen with 18 points in the loss.

Escanaba 19 7 16 18 — 60

Kingsford 9 11 14 11 — 45

ESCANABA: Frazer 11, Smale 4, Colin Hudson 20, Carter Hudson 3, Hanson 3, Maki 9, Brown 5, Victorson 5; FT: 18-26; F: 18; Fouled Out: None; 3-point FG Frazer, Smale, Hanson, Colin Hudson; 3-PT % 4-7= 24%; FG Shooting: 18-46 = 39%. Rebounds: 38, Hanson 6.

KINGSFORD: Nora 4, Meneguzzo 6, Kopp 12, Bracket 4, Paupore 13, Person 6; FT: 12-26; F: 20; Fouled Out: Person, Meneguzzo; 3-point FG: Paupore 3; 3-PT % 3-16= 19%; FG-SHOOTING: 15-51= 29%

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