MAPLE CITY — A season that’s had its highs and lows is suddenly trending upward for the St. Francis Gladiators.
For the second night in a row, St. Francis used a fourth quarter surge to post a key non-league road win, this one 71-58 over Glen Lake on Tuesday.
Senior Noah Phillips scored 17 of his team-high 24 points in the final eight minutes to spark the Gladiators (9-10), who erased a six-point deficit to lead by two, 45-43, entering the fourth quarter. On Monday night, St. Francis pulled away down the stretch to beat seventh-ranked Pine River.
The Gladiators won Tuesday despite losing leading scorer Byron Bullough to a foot injury midway through the second quarter. He did not return.
“I was really impressed with the guys tonight,” Gladiators coach Keith Haske said. “We overcame a lot of stuff — Byron going down, foul trouble.
“I thought Noah Phillips was tremendous. He’s got that talent. He’s 6-8 and can run and jump and shoot. He’s starting to show toughness, too, around the basket.
“And Tanner Kenney is starting to step up. He played tough inside. And I don’t know what you can say about the freshman point guard, Gabe Callery? He’s starting to rise up.
“This is one of the great team wins I’ve had in a while. The guys off the bench all did something positive. That’s a good, athletic team we played. We’re pleased to get it (win) tonight.”
Kenney, a 6-8 center, added 15 points before fouling out. Callery contributed eight points.
Glen Lake’s Carter Lee led all scorers with 28 points, but he was held to two free throws in the fourth quarter.
“I think we stopped going inside and attacking,” Lakers coach Todd Hazelton said. “We started taking more perimeter shots, but their defense dictated that. They did a good job.