GWINN - Pressure and more pressure.
The Gwinn High School boys basketball team hounded Munising ball handlers all night long Tuesday night and as a result, handed the visiting Mustangs a 52-42 non-conference defeat in the opening game of the season for both squads.
The Modeltowners got 11 points from both Derek Reetz and Justin Nyquist. Owen DeVooght added 10.
But it was the GHS defense that was the difference, forcing numerous turnovers and limiting the Mustangs to just 25 shots from the field.
"We're working on (doubling on the ball)," Modeltowners veteran head coach Darren Sinnaeve said. "With our depth, we figure we can get away with it and have our guys go as hard as they can.
"I thought with (Munising) being a young team, that might have been something they weren't prepared for. I wanted to keep them out of their offense (too)."
Gage Webster led the Mustangs with 19 points and Colin Immel chipped in with 10. But Munising had trouble getting into any offensive rhythm.
"Our inexperience showed," said Munising head coach Dan Waterman, who has five sophomores listed on a nine-member roster. "We didn't handle the ball well under pressure.
"We have to take better care of the ball."
Munising led 17-10 with 3:45 left in the second quarter behind six points by Noah Ackerman and five by Webster.
"We slowed the pace down early, handled their pressure and got some quality offensive looks," Waterman said.
But Mark Boettcher hit a pair of key shots in the final minute to give Gwinn a 22-19 lead at halftime.
"We were a little nervous at the beginning of the game," Reetz said. "We didn't finish our shots going to the hoop and we needed to hustle more.
"But Mark hit a couple of shots from the corner and we picked it up from there. We got a lot of turnovers and fast breaks off our pressure."
The Mustangs led 29-28 with two minutes left in the third quarter on a triple by Webster.
But Gwinn went on a 9-0 run - fueled by four points from DeVooght - to hold a 37-29 advantage heading into the final quarter.
"We found a rotation that came up with some steals at the end of that quarter," Sinnaeve said.
But the Mustangs again came back, scoring the first six points of the fourth stanza to trail just 37-35. Ben Stasewich scored four of those points.
Reetz answered with four points, however, and teammate Kylor Skinner stole the ball and turned it into a three-point play to help their team to another 9-0 run to seal the game.
"I liked our hustle," Sinnaeve said. "We made a lot of mistakes, but hustled."
Waterman said despite the loss, his team showed a good work ethic.
"I'm happy with the effort," he said. "These kids will work hard.
"It was just tough for us to get into our set offense in the second half."
Gwinn won the JV game, 47-8.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.