TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City St. Francis tipped off the season with not only a tournament victory, but an unusually early league contest as well.
The Gladiators held about a 2-to-1 advantage most of the way en route to a 47-23 win over Harbor Springs in the Katie Heintz Tip Off Tournament.
After Lake Leelanau St. Mary’s had to pull out of the tourney, Harbor Springs filled in and the Glads and Rams decided to make it a Lake Michigan Conference contest as well, canceling a St. Francis home date later in the season.
“It’s always good to start with a win,” St. Francis coach Mike Knudsen said. “Not only was this a win for us in the Katie Heintz tournament, it was a conference game for us this year.”
The tournament’s opening round was moved to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School while St. Francis’ new gym floor surface finishes curing. Wednesday’s final round is slated to be held at St. Francis, starting with Bear Lake against the Gladiators in the junior varsity consolation game at 3 p.m. and Harbor Springs against Glen Lake in the JV title game at 4:30 p.m.
Harbor Springs will face Glen Lake in the varsity consolation at 6 p.m., with the Glads taking on Bear Lake in the championship contest.
The Gladiators (1-0, 1-0 LMC) sprinted out to the top of the Lake Michigan race a little earlier than normal.
The Glads started a lineup with one senior, one junior, one sophomore and two freshmen.
“We are young this year,” Knudsen said. “We lost five seniors last year, so we’ve got a couple freshmen, a few sophomores. We only have one senior. Overall, I was very happy with how we played.”
Still, St. Francis led 12-8 after the first quarter in which Harbor Springs — which has six seniors — pressed often.