Prep boys basketball: Gwinn rallies for win behind 20-2 surge

HOUGHTON – Down the stretch, both Houghton and Gwinn had haunting reminders of losses the night before.

Only the Modeltowners were able to snap out of it before reality set in Friday.

With Houghton suffering from a rough second half for the second straight game, Gwinn used a 20-2 run to spur a 61-57 non-conference victory.

Both teams were playing back-to-backs: Gwinn (5-3) lost by two points in Ishpeming Thursday after the Hematites’ Bobby Zhulkie made a pair of treys in the last 38.1 seconds.

Houghton was outscored 39-24 in the second half of a West PAC home loss to L’Anse.

On Tuesday, Gwinn lost to Gladstone on another triple with 18 seconds left.

“I had visions of the exact same results happening,” Gwinn coach Darren Sinnaeve said. “You’re thinking of that all the time, it’s like ‘Good Lord, here we go again,’ especially with a team that shoots as well as them, you don’t know what to expect.”

Early on, things went smoothly for the Gremlins (5-3). Trent Keteri made four triples in the first half and junior Nate Gockenbach had consistent success scoring off the dribble.

Houghton led 37-28 at the half, but after a 3-for-19 shooting performance in the third quarter, the Gremlins went from having an 11-point lead early in the third to trailing by seven, 51-44, with 6:28 to play.

Sinnaeve credited an increase in his team’s intensity for the rally.

“That’s what I was trying to sell at halftime: You could see the emotion in Houghton that first half … when they got that lead. They were jumping all over,” he said.

Gockenbach helped Houghton stop the slide, scoring 10 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, but the Modeltowners maintained their lead by trading 3s with Houghton.

Keteri’s sixth and final trey made it 59-57 with 1:26 to play, but Houghton failed twice on attempts to tie the game.

After Houghton exhausted multiple fouls to put Gwinn in the bonus, Jesse Mottes iced it with a pair of late free throws.

Alex Morse led the Modeltowners, making six 3s and scoring 20 points. Owen DeVooght added 16.