Modeltowners hold off late Eskymo rally

ESCANABA – A very strong start for the Gwinn boys basketball team was good enough to nullify a fourth quarter rally by the Escanaba Eskymos, and the Modeltowners came away with the 56-47 non-conference win on Thursday in Escanaba.

“That first quarter and a half, we probably played our best basketball of the whole year,” Gwinn coach Darren Sinnaeve said. “Between how we played defense, ran the floor, penetrated the lane, and got good shots inside, we played strong.”

After beginning the game on a 7-0 run, Gwinn continued to run a fast pace and convert Escanaba misses into quick transition buckets. At one point, the Modeltowners were up 21-4.

Early in the second quarter, the Eskymos were able to cut the deficit to 12 after a triple by Jamie Hiltunen. However, that was as close as they got until the fourth quarter.

Gwinn was up 44-25, but a quick layup by Dan LaPalm and then a 3-pointer from Hiltunen got the Eskymos’ offense going. It was followed by a fast break bucket by Ben Kleiman, and all of a sudden Escanaba was only down 12.

A triple from Brandon Robinette dropped Gwinn’s lead to just 48-40, but the Modeltowners kept some distance with a Luke Sinnaeve and a Derek Reetz layup. The closest Esky got was within seven points, but there was only a minute left in the game by then. Gwinn ate up the clock, hit some free throws, and rolled out of Escanaba with the win.

Gwinn had three players in double figures – Derek Reetz with 13, Owen DeVooght with 12 and Luke Sinnaeve finished with 10.