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Tuesday May 26, 2020
RIVALRY UPSET! Gladstone Rallies Past Escanaba

GLADSTONE---The Gladstone Braves scored the final ten points of the game to stun the Escanaba Eskymos, 73-67, Friday night in Gladstone.

Caden Alworden's four-point play in the final minute was the difference.

At the time, Escanaba had a 67-66 lead in the back-and-forth game. Cam Ballard was well covered on the play, so he passed to Alworden, who drilled the three-pointer from the left wing as he was fouled by Eskymo sophomore Colin Hudson. The shot fell, and Alworden made the foul shot with 39.3 seconds to play to give Gladstone a 70-67 lead.

“You know, they had some runs, we had some runs, it just came down to the last quarter and we took it,” the senior Alworden said. “Four-point play! You know, I was just feeling it all game, and when I got the ball, I was thinking ‘shoot’, and that’s what happened.”

It was fitting for Alworden to do it on a night when he and the other Gladstone seniors were honored in a pre-game ceremony before their last-ever home game, before a loud, near-standing room only crowd.

“What an atmosphere,” Gladstone Coach Dane Quigley said. “Caden Alworden, I can’t say enough good things about him. Senior Night. He hits that shot. I mean, what a moment for him.”

Alworden wasn’t done there as the Braves pressed the Eskymos on defense to prevent a possible tying triple at the other end. The Eskymos never got the ball across half court as Alworden got the loose ball on a wild play that ended with Ballard getting fouled.

He calmly made both free throws to make it a 72-67 game, and the Braves got another steal and another Ballard lay-up to make it a 73-67 final.

“We missed free throws, we made some mistakes on the perimeter,” Escanaba Coach Tracy Hudson said. “We gave up some big three’s. They got to the basket. I mean, I thought Gladstone did a great job of just finishing the game. We didn’t finish the game.”

The game was close all the way through, and Escanaba had the lead for most of the night, leading, 14-10, after the first quarter, and 30-27, at halftime.

The Eskymos took their biggest lead in the third quarter at 46-39 as Colin Hudson dunked the ball after a breakaway and Brandon Frazer drained a triple from the right wing.

Peyton Fedell scored an ad-lib basket in the lane, and it was “game on” in the fourth quarter as the lead exchanged hands and both teams accumulated double digit fouls.
Escanaba had a 65-60 lead with two minutes to play, and led 67-63, before the Braves finished the game with ten straight points.

“I felt pretty good,” Coach Hudson said. “I’ll take a five-point lead with two minutes to go. But Gladstone made the plays, and they deserved to win.”

It was a huge win for Gladstone, which has languished around the .500 mark all season long with inconsistent play. But on this night, the Braves got it done in crunch time.

“I’m so proud of the way these guys played tonight,” Quigley said. “We did it defensively, and we really haven’t been a defensive juggernaut all year. The fact that we were able to come in here and do that, this is the kind of momentum we need going into the tournament. A spectacular, fun win for us tonight.”

Rane Castor led the Braves with 22 points and Cam Ballard added 20. Alworden finished with 11, including the four biggest points of the season.

Colin Hudson had 18 points for Escanaba, while Fedell added 15 and Frazier chipped in 13.

Escanaba finishes its season with a 13-7 record and is off until the district tournament, where the Eskymos will be the top seed, but nonetheless have to open on the road at Kingsford.

Gladstone improved to 10-9 and will close the regular season Tuesday night against undefeated and top-ranked Iron Mountain.

That game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 600 and on-line at www.rrnsports.com.

Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos and videos, and listen to post-game comments from Alworden and the two coaches.










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