Gremlins top Bulldogs in Wing Ding basketball Friday, 67-51

For the Gazette/Paul Peterson Houghton Brad Sirard looks to get around Hancock’s Joe Watson in Friday’s game in Hancock. Houghton was a 67-51 winner.

HANCOCK — Every time the Hancock Bulldogs tried to make a run at the Houghton Gremlins Friday night, the imposing figure of Brad Sirard got in the way.

Sirard, the 6-foot-6 Gremlins’ ace, poured in 39 points as the Orange and Black notched a 67-51 Wing Ding win.

“We gave up the first 15 points of the game,” Hancock skipper Matt Strong said afterward. “You can’t do that against a team as good as that …. and expect to come out in front.”

The plucky Bulldogs tried their best to erase the aforementioned 15-0 hole, but were constantly thwarted by Sirard.

“I thought Hancock played pretty solidly,” Houghton skipper Brad Lawson said.  “After we got up on them by a bunch, they kept battling back. But we had Brad (Sirard) hitting shots and that made the difference.”

The Crimson and Gold sliced the lead down to 11 points on two occasions in the fourth quarter — only to have Sirard answer back immediately.

The junior forward-guard nailed a pair of three-pointers and then put in a traditional three-point play to make it a 62-46 game with under three minutes left.

Houghton held a 37-15 halftime lead as George Butvilas abetted Sirard with 12 points of his own.

Devin Raasio scored eight points for the Bulldogs in the opening two periods.

Houghton was threatening to make a runaway of the game with a 46-21 lead midway through the third quarter.

But triples by Joe Watson, Carsen Chynoweth, Shane Aho and Raasio made for a 49-33 reading by quarter’s end.

Houghton, coming off an impressive win over Ishpeming earlier in the week, received a stern lecture from their coach afterward.

“Three times this week, we had the chance to put a team away, and didn’t,” Lawson said. “We have to learn how to put a game away if we want to keep winning.”

Now 9-7 on the season, the Houghton cagers also received 15 points and seven rebounds from the steady Butvilas. Sirard had 11 rebounds to go with his game-leading point total.

“He’s a great player because he can do it all,” Strong said of Sirard. “He went off on us in the second half and that’s tough to defend.”

Hancock, 2-14 on the season, was led by Raasio with 13 points, 9 boards and two blocks. Chynoweth, Anderson and Watson tallied 12, 11 and 10 points in that order.

Houghton will host Kingsford on Thursday in a possible Class 2 district tourney preview. Hancock, which is in Division 4, meets Ontonagon next Wednesday in a makeup game.

Houghton 21 16 12 18 – 67

Hancock 5 10 18 18 – 51

HOUGHTON — Butvilas 15, Hyslop 5, Keskimaki 3, Sirard 39, Romano 3. FT: 9-14; Rebounds: 29; (Sirard 11); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Sirard 5; ButvIilas 2, Keskimaki 1, Romano 1, Hyslop 1.

HANCOCK — Chynoweth 11, Watson 10, Raasio 13, Anderson 11, Aho 3, Bal 2; FT: 4-6; Rebounds: 22 (Raasio 9); Fouls: 11; Fouled out: None: 3-point FG:  Watson 3, Chynoweth 2, Raasio 1, Aho 1, Anderson 1.