Gladwin Girls Basketball

After falling behind early Gladwin used a stingy defense to get back in the game. Lizzie Haines (22), McKenna Pratt (15) and Anna Seebeck (12) lock down Farwell’s Remi Sponseller.

GLADWIN

It’s not over until the final whistle. One of the oldest clichés in sports, and one of the most accurate. There are 32 minutes in a high school basketball game and the Flying G’s needed most of them last Friday night. They were trailing 21-14 going into the fourth quarter against Farwell.  The Eagles returned two 2020/21 All Conference players, Madison Travis and Raini Sponseller and were considered by many to be the best team in the conference.

When Farwell scored the first four points of the fourth quarter it didn’t look good for Gladwin, but to their credit they didn’t give up and slowly started to chip away at the Farwell lead. Anna Seebeck got things started with a layup off a nice pass from Erin Breault with 5:31 left in the game. McKenna Pratt hit a driving layup to cut the Farwell lead to 25-18 with a little over five minutes left in the game.

After a pair of Farwell free throws made the score 27-18 the Flying G’s took over. Farwell’s Macy Campbell committed her fifth foul, which sent Pratt to the line. She hit both foul shots narrowing the gap to seven points with 4:09 left. Breault stole the ensuing in bounds pass and got the ball to Maeleen Guzman who was open beyond the three-point arc. Her basket made the score 27-23.

Gladwin turned up the pressure with a trapping defense and forced Farwell to make mistakes. Pratt stole the ball in the Farwell offensive zone and took it in the other direction for a fast break layup to bring the Flying G’s within two points 27-25 with three and a half minutes to go. Gladwin continued to pressure the ball making it hard for the Eagles to get into their offensive sets. With 2:20 left Lizzie Haines was fouled and went to the line shooting one and one. She made the first shot, but missed the second. Breault got the rebound and passed to Pratt. She found Ava Hale open down low for a basket that gave Gladwin their first lead of the game, 28-27.

After a Farwell turnover Pratt found Hale again this time on a fast break to give Gladwin a 30-27 lead with 1:29 left. Clearly rattled, Farwell turned the ball over again on the next possession when Breault tipped a pass to Pratt. She got the ball to Hale who hit Breault as she cut to the basket to make it 32-27 with a minute left.

Farwell didn’t go down easily. Remi Sponseller was fouled on a three point shot and calmly made all three shots. Gladwin then turned the ball over in the backcourt giving the Eagles the chance to tie the score. Raini Sponseller split her free throws leaving the Eagles down by one with 23 seconds left. After Gladwin turned the ball over in the backcourt again Farwell had two chances to win the game. A missed layup and two missed free throws allowed the Flying G’s to hold on to the lead. Farwell had one final opportunity with less than five seconds remaining, but Haines broke up a pass and Gladwin came away with the 32-31 win.

Pratt led the Flying G’s with eight points; Hale had seven and Breault six. Breault was the leading rebounder for Gladwin with eight; Haines had seven and Seebeck added six. Raini Sponseller led Farwell with 11 points; Remi Sponseller had eleven rebounds. “I was really happy and proud of the girls. We really struggled to score the first half but they never stopped fighting the entire game,” said Coach Jerome Smalley. “When we took the lead in the fourth quarter the girls showed a lot of character to hold off Farewell.”

Gladwin is tied for first place in the Jack Pine Conference with Beaverton, Clare and Meridian. All four are 1-0. The Flying G’s played Alma last night in Alma and will travel to Pinconning on Friday night.

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