By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - Kingsford and Gladstone combined for 56 turnovers in a ragged Great Northern Conference girls basketball game Tuesday.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Kingsford’s Carlee Benzie shoots over Gladstone’s Alexis St. Cyr (5) and Anna Wulf (14) in Tuesday’s Great Northern Conference girls basketball game.
"That was the difference in the game," said Coach Mike Cross after his Flivvers registered a 51-44 decision. "It was just an ugly game. Both teams struggled to protect the ball."
Gladstone, which wound up with 31 turnovers, closed a 10-point deficit in the first half to 41-40 with 3:35 left in the game.
"We had way too many turnovers," said Gladstone Coach Karl Dollhopf. "We're young but that's a big area coming into the game where we knew we had to get better at."
The Flivvers owned a 10-point lead to start the fourth quarter but Gladstone knocked in six straight to close the gap to 36-32. Kingsford opened up some space but Sadie Strasser's triple and two-point bucket sparked a Gladstone comeback to 41-40.
"I was real happy in the third quarter where we showed signs of responding and coming back," Dollhopf said. "We didn't cave in. We just didn't have enough left and they made some plays."
Carlee Benzie sparked the Flivvers with 24 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Courtney Qualley also tallied five steals. Benzie scored 10 fourth-quarter points, with six coming at the line.
"Carlee Benzie down the stretch was able to ice the game at the free throw line," Cross said. "All of the girls did a nice job of putting in some free throws to give us a little bit of a lead."
Qualley, Andrea Roell (three) and Sam Fleming also converted fourth-quarter free throws.
"I think we've got some kids that are real tired right now and that played into it, too," Cross said. "It was one of those games where you take the victory and you have to get better."
Gladstone managed four points over the final three minutes of the game. Alison Austin, the lone senior on the roster, netted a team-high eight points.
"The first half pressure really bothered us," Dollhopf said. "But the second half we gave a little more back to them. We were able to be a little more aggressive on offense because of that."
"We fought back. It wasn't because of a lack of effort. We're just young and inexperienced."
Kingsford (4-1 overall, 1-0 GNC) hosts Marquette on Friday. Gladstone (2-3, 0-2) visits Big Bay de Noc on Tuesday.
The Flivvers won the junior varsity (61-52) and freshmen (39-28) games. Maria Wiltzius netted 25 points and Annika Erickson added 15 for the Kingsford jayvees. Ali Gering's 13 points along with eight apiece from Lauren Champion and Ali Bubloni led the Flivver frosh.
Gladstone 8 8 10 18 - 44
Kingsford 11 14 11 15 - 51
GLADSTONE: Austin 8 , St. Cyr 7, Strasser 7, Wulf 1, Depuydt 2, Jensen 5, Sharon 2, Beaudry 5, Hongisto 7. FT: 14-26. F: 22. Fouled out: St. Cyr, Strasser.
KINGSFORD: Fleming 6, Benzie 24, Roell 4, Tresedder 3, Larson 2, Bianco 6, Smith 2, Qualley 4. FT: 17-30. F: 18.
3-point FG: Tresedder, Bianco 2, Benzie, Strasser. FG: Kingsford 15-53, Gladstone 14. Rebounding: Kingsford 25 (Benzie 8), Gladstone 20 (Hongisto 6).