GWINN - Control the boards in basketball and more often than not, you'll come out a winner.
Gwinn High School's boys hoops squad did just that Friday night, outrebounding visiting Manistique by a conservative 38-26 margin and beating the Emeralds 65-48 in a Mid-Peninsula Conference game.
"We have a lot of length and size," Modeltowners' head coach Darren Sinnaeve said. "If we can keep the kids crashing the boards, we'll be in good shape."
Gwinn junior Justin Nyquist goes up for the layup as Manistique’s Tyler Kangas (20) attempts to defend during the second quarter of a Mid-Peninsula Conference game in Gwinn on Friday. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
With the help of a 21-9 rebounding edge in the first half and Manistique's 25 game turnovers, Gwinn (2-1 overall, 1-1 M-PC) was able to take 66 shots from the field to the Emeralds' 44.
"We do box-out drills in practice and tonight, (rebounding) was the turning point," Gwinn junior guard Justin Nyquist said after scoring a game-high 16 points. "We had a lot of rebounds on the offensive side."
Senior guard Derek Reetz added 13 points and a team-high eight boards for the Modeltowners.
"(Gwinn) rebounded well, especially in the first half," Manistique head coach Todd Kangas said. "We didn't do a good job on the defensive side in rebounding.
"We did a much better job of that in the second half."
Often getting 2-3 shots at a time due to their prowess on the boards and the Emeralds' 10 turnovers, the Modeltowners took a 34-22 first half lead.
Reetz, Nyquist and Alex Morse all notched six points apiece in the first 16 minutes to overcome eight by Cody Ryan and six by Tyler Kangas for the Emeralds.
Kangas finished with 16 points for Manistique (1-3, 0-3), while Ryan and Conner Selling chipped in 11 each. Manistique cut the Gwinn lead to 38-33 on a free throw by Max Nelson with 2:23 left in the third quarter. But Gwinn went on an 8-0 run behind four points by Owen DeVooght to go up 46-33.
"We missed some easy shots (early) in the third quarter," Sinnaeve said. "We just didn't finish."
After Reetz opened the final stanza with four unanswered points, Manistique outscored Gwinn 13-4 to crawl to within 54-48 with 2:55 remaining in the game.
"We shot well," coach Kangas said. "But we don't have a deep bench and (Gwinn) kept putting in a new wave of guys into the game."
Nyquist fueled a 13-0 Modeltowners' run with a bucket from the corner, two free throws and a breakaway basket off a Luke Sinnaeve pass, to help put the game on ice.
"I had to get our team fired up again," Nyquist said. "Coach trusts me with the ball."
Said coach Sinnaeve: "Justin's a complete player. He and Reetz can do a lot of things as 6-4 guards. They're tough to cover."
Sinnaeve added it was his team's most balanced game of the young season.
"We had great rotation on our press, we rebounded well and a lot of kids made big shots for us," he said.
Gwinn won the junior varsity contest, 66-52.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.