Battle for Butch

BEAVERTON – This winters first “Battle for Butch” was shaping up as possibly one of the most competitive games in recent years. Beaverton was entering the contest with an 8-0 record and in first place in the Jack Pine Conference. Gladwin was in third place at 5-3. Both teams had also claimed wins over the defending conference champions, Sanford Meridian. With the relaxation of some of the state restrictions the largest crowd of the year would be able to watch the game. It promised to be a great night of basketball in Beaverton.

If it seemed too good to be true it was as the pandemic raised its ugly head once again. A positive COVID test and contact tracing forced the quarantine of several Gladwin basketball players, which severely hampered their ability to compete. To their credit the remaining Flying G’s played hard, but could not match a Beaverton team that plays good defense and has multiple scoring options.

Four Beavers scored in the first quarter, led by Cam Mishler with five points, as Beaverton jumped out to a 15-8 lead after one. Beaverton outscored the Flying G’s 17-8 in the second quarter to take a 32-16 halftime lead. The Beavers continued to get output from multiple players with Trent Reed scoring seven points in the second. Ethan Shea had six of Gladwin’s eight points in the quarter.

The Beavers opened the third quarter with a 13 to 4 run to pull away from the Flying G’s. Carson Oldani triggered the spurt with eight points. Beaverton led 48-23 after three quarters on their way to a 56-35 win. “It’s always nice to get a win against your rival but to be honest we felt terrible for the kids at Gladwin who weren’t able to compete tonight,” said Beaverton Coach Shad Woodruff. “These are memories our kids should have for a lifetime and it’s just unfortunate that they are being stripped away.”

Gladwin Coach Mike Verellen also mentioned the situation after the game. “We were a bit undermanned tonight,” he said. “The day before a game which we had been looking forward to all season, six of our players were quarantined for being near another student who tested positive for COVID. “

Both coaches complemented the effort exhibited by all who played. “All of the kids played hard tonight and we look forward to the game in two weeks when everyone will be at full strength,” said Woodruff. “Win or lose, that is the way it should be.” Verellen added, “We brought up three sophomores for tonight’s game and they gave us everything they had, but Beaverton has so many weapons it was tough for us to slow them down. As long as everything goes all right, we should have everyone back for the next time we meet.”

Reed and Oldani scored 16 points each for the Beavers. Brayde Keeley had 15 points and was the leading rebounder with 11. Mishler had nine points. The leading scorers for Gladwin were Ethan Shea and Wislon Bragg with 14 each. Shea was also the leading rebounder for Gladwin with 11. 

The teams are scheduled to meet again on Thursday, March 18 in Gladwin which is the regular season finale for both schools. Until then the 9-0 Beavers have four remaining games on the schedule including a home game with Meridian on Thursday and a rematch with second place Pinconning on Saturday. 

Gladwin, 5-4, also has four games remaining before their rematch with Beaverton. They play at Clare on Thursday and Shepherd on Saturday.

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