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Boys Basketball: Houghton slips past L’Anse in opener, 50-46

Houghton’s Brad Simonsen, left, drives to the hoop against L'Anse's Desean Allen, center, and Eli Ostermeyer on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Houghton, Mich. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Tuesday night’s game between the Houghton Gremlins and the L’Anse Purple Hornets had all the trappings of an opening game of a high school boy’s basketball season.

Missed shots, mindless fouls and turnovers.

However, in the end the Houghton Gremlins came out on top with the 50-46 victory.

“I certainly was happy with the win, but we have work to do,” said Houghton head coach Jared Lawson.“The beauty of a long season is that you have plenty of time to correct mistakes. You can only get better.”

Houghton senior Brad Simonsen opened the game with a long three-pointer and the Gremlins were off and running. L’Anse tied it at nine and it was 11-9 in favor of the Gremlins after one quarter.

The Gremlins worked the ball well in the second having to adapt to the double team that was placed on the 6-foot-4 Simonsen. At the half, the Gremlins led 25-19.

“At half time, I told the guys to keep fighting and cut down the lead,” Purple Hornets head coach Kyle Koski said. “We knew coming in that we would have to stop or at least slow down Simonsen. We wanted to hold him and (Pablo) Salgado to under 30 points tonight. We did do that but we couldn’t make our shots.”

Alex Kissel led the the scoring for the Purple Hornets with 23 points.

Simonsen led the charge for the Gremlins with 22 points and an impressive 18 rebounds.

“Those are great numbers,” Lawson said. ” Jordan Jurva also stepped up for us tonight.”

Jurva, a senior guard, had 13 points.

“He shot the shots when he was open,” Lawson said.

Lawson added that they will focus on defense as they head back to practice.

“I was happy with our man-to-man but we have to get better,” he said. It is all about taking it one step at a time.”

Houghton’s scheduled season-opener with Kingsford on Monday was postponed by weather. The Gremlins will face the Escanaba Eskymos on the road on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

L’Anse 9 10 11 16 — 46

Houghton 11 14 9 16 — 50

L’ANSE (46): Jacobson 2, Reed 5, Allen 4, Laitila 7, Kissell 23, Ostermeyer 5. FT: 11-22. F:18. 3-point FG: Laitila 1, Kissell 2.

HOUGHTON (50): Jurva 13, Romano 3, Willey 7, Salgado 3, Simonson 22, Primeau 2.

FT: 7-12. F: 20. 3-point FG: Jurva 1, Romano 1, Willey 1, Simonsen 1.

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