O’Brien secures Ishpeming victory at Gladstone

GLADSTONE – Senior Alesha O’Brien made a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to seal Ishpeming’s 48-44 victory at Gladstone in a high school girls basketball game played Tuesday night.

“Ishpeming played well and made some big plays in the second half,” Braves coach Karl Dollhopf said. “They were very patient against our zone (defense) and they worked the ball around.

“Their girls dictated what shots they were going to take, which I think is key.”

The Hematites (10-4) led 35-32 heading into the fourth quarter, but were only up 46-44 with 15 seconds left after Gladstone’s Callie Jensen grabbed a rebound and made the putback.

But the Braves (7-6) were forced to foul, and O’Brien knocked down the free throws.

“I thought our girls did real well,” Ishpeming coach Mark Dellangelo said. “They pressured us a little bit, but we handled it. Gladstone’s a good team, they always play hard and mix it up and they did that.”

The game was tied 14-14 after the first quarter when Gladstone’s Lexi Hongisto beat the buzzer with a jump shot. The Braves worked inside to build an eight-point lead during the second quarter, but the Hematites put together an 8-2 run to end the half, making it 26-24 Gladstone at the break.

“They were able to score some buckets on the inside, but we made some changes,” Dellangelo said. “We did our best to make them come out of their comfort zone, and my bench helped to spread the floor for us, find some gaps and get some open shots.”

Ishpeming slowed the tempo and moved the ball around until O’Brien put in a triple to open the third quarter. But aggressive play from the Braves and key shots from Hongisto kept the game tight.

Jessica Spencer led the Hematites with 12 points, while Jess Beaudry paced the Braves with 13.

Gladstone won the JV game 41-33.