BY MIKE ECKERT
TRAVERSE CITY — The starters for St. Francis ran, and then they rested.
The Gladiators jumped out to a big lead and let the bench put the game away Friday in a 73-25 Lake Michigan Conference win over visiting Harbor Springs.
St. Francis (6-0, 3-0 LMC) led 32-9 at the end of the first quarter.
"I was real impressed how we came out of the gate," Glads coach Keith Haske said. "Usually with that two-week layoff, you've got to get your feet underneath you. But I thought our kids really executed the press and put pressure on them. We did a great job passing the ball and being unselfish. I was really impressed with how we played, to be honest."
In the first quarter, Harbor Springs turned the ball over 13 times.
"We like to play fast, so we knew if we got that running we'd make them break," SF senior Ian Spencer said. "That's what we did and we got a lot of points in the first quarter."
Spencer was one of seven Gladiators to score in the first quarter. He had six points.
In the second half, Spencer turned his attention to rebounding. He grabbed four quick rebounds to start the third quarter as the team extended its lead to force a running clock.
"(Assistant) coach (Ron) Popp always talks about rebounding," Spencer said. "He talked to me at halftime, so I thought I'd go out there and get some rebounds for him."
"He's that kind of kid that fills all the stat columns up," Haske said. "He never scores a lot of points, but he's got that great motor where he's going everywhere. He comes up with a lot of loose balls and backside rebounds. He's that quiet athlete. He's a great athlete and he surprises you sometimes when you think, 'Wow, how did he get to that?'"
Kody Kleinrichert had 16 points for the Gladiators, Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi had 13 points, six assists and two steals, Austin Currie had six points, four assists and four steals while Noah Phillips had eight points.
"Our juniors are coming along," Haske said. "We're starting to get some play from Noah Phillips and Noah LaLonde is helping us. It's nice to see us getting some depth too."
St. Francis led 52-21 at the half and made it 64-24 at the end of the third quarter. None of the Gladiator starters played in the fourth quarter.
"It's great, because everyone gets to play," Haske said. "The other thing is we have three more games this week, so if we didn't have to have our starters play the whole time, that's probably going to be beneficial."
Harbor Springs had seven points from David Walker, while Spencer Kloss had six points.
St. Francis travels to McBain today before playing Grayling and Charlevoix next week.
"Every game is important," Haske said. "Going on the road against a good, quality opponent is always going to help you down the road. We're very excited to go play them. I've seen them play a few times and it's typical McBain. They're strong and physical. It's going to be a heck of a battle."