GLADWIN – The Flying G’s lost a tough overtime decision to Clare last Friday by a score of 55-54. While the result had to be disappointing, the improvement over the course of the season has to be acknowledged and appreciated. Gladwin lost to the Pioneers by over 30 points back in February. Neither team held more than a six-point advantage this time around.
Clare got off to a quick start and grabbed an early 4-0 lead before Gladwin started to take advantage of its inside game to take a 14-11 first quarter lead. Gladwin outrebounded Clare on both the offensive and defensive glass for the game and held a 12-6 advantage in second chance points. Clare played much better in the second shooting over 55 percent in the quarter and outscoring the Flying G’s 14-5 as they took their biggest lead, 25-19, of the game.
The third quarter went back and forth with both teams taking turns in the lead. Gladwin was trailing by four early in the fourth quarter when they went on a 8-3 run to move into the lead before an offensive rebound and put back bucket by the Pioneers tied the game 44-44. The Flying G’s had the ball and a timeout with six seconds left in the game. Clare had fouls to give so they took one with 1.7 seconds remaining. Gladwin was unable to get a shot off sending the game into overtime.
Gladwin held a 52-48 lead with 1:14 seconds left in the game when their primary ball handler, McKenna Pratt went down with an injury and had to leave the game. With a four-point lead and Pratt’s ball handling skills Clare would have been forced to foul. She was shooting 75 percent from the line during the game making it likely that the ball would have been in her hands for the final minute. It was definitely a break for Clare when Pratt went down.
Clare got another break with 17 seconds left in the game. After missing back-to-back free throws they rebounded the second miss and scored with a little over 10 seconds left to take a 55-54 lead. A turnover at mid court prevented the Flying G’s from getting off a last shot and Clare went home with the win.
“Both teams played really hard and had many chances to win in regulation and the overtime,” said Coach Jerome Smalley. “We lost by 32 the first time we played them so I was proud of our effort and improvement.” Ava Hale was the leading scorer for Gladwin with 12 points. Erin Breault and Chloe Kokotovich each had 11. Hale also had eight rebounds.
Harrison and Gladwin hooked up Monday night in Harrison. The game was close, but the Hornets came away with the win 44-38. The Flying G’s led by two points going into the fourth quarter before Harrison went on a run to take a five-point lead. Gladwin was able to cut the deficit to two points before some late Harrison free throws “sealed the win,” said Smalley. Delaney Cote led Gladwin with 11 points; Kokotovich had 10 and Pratt 8.
The Flying G’s played host to Pinconning on March 10 and come out on top with a 59-36 win. “We were able to jump out to a good lead using a half-court trap,” said Smalley. Once they adjusted they did cut into the lead closing to within six points late in the third quarter. “In the fourth we extended our lead back to 15 points and the Spartans ran out of gas,” added Smalley.
Everyone seemed to get into the action, as Smalley was able to play 12 girls in the game, nine of which scored. Hale and Kokotovich each had a double-double in the game. Hale had 14 points and 10 rebounds; Kokotovich added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Lizzie Haines and Anna Seebeck had nine and seven points respectively. Pratt continued to play well at the point dishing out seven assists.
The Flying G’s are 6-6 on the season and host Shepherd tonight. They travel to Beaverton on Friday for the final game of the regular season. The District playoffs start next week with Gladwin traveling to Big Rapids on Monday for a game with Ogemaw Heights.