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Wolverines rise over Riceville Thorn Compton T-R Assistant Sports Editor tcompton@timesrepublican.com

December 27, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
GARWIN — For a short period in the first quarter it seemed the GMG boys basketball team was going to have its hands full with Riceville in its final game before the winter break on Friday night. The Wildcats led 8-5 with more than three minutes gone in the first and the Wolverine offense couldn’t seem to make a basket, but that’s when GMG turned up the defensive pressure. Riceville gave up turnovers on back-to-back plays that led to run-out scores by the Wolverines, including a dunk by senior Brayden Peterson, and before anyone knew it GMG went from down three to up 16-8 by the end of the first quarter. That lead would only grow throughout the next 24 minutes and when it was all said and done the Wolverines closed out the 2018 portion of their schedule with a big 55-23 win over the Wildcats. “We seem to be a team that once we get the fire lit, then we burn fast,” GMG head coach Michael Plett said after the win. “It’s just a matter of getting that fire lit, and that starts with our defensive intensity. Even though some of those early shots weren’t falling our defensive intensity was great and that triggers our offense at the other end. When people are playing hard defensively, flying to the ball and getting steals, that’s what we like to see and we know the offense eventually is going to click.” After allowing three field goals in the first three minutes, the Wolverines (5-3) would only allow six more throughout the rest of the contest. This was the best defensive performance of the year so far for GMG, holding the Wildcats (1-8) to just 23 points, and Plett said his guys are doing well adapting to a system that is still fairly new to them. “I think the biggest thing is we have been running this offensive system for three years now so the kids are very comfortable with it and we have faith that we can score on a lot of people,” he said. “Defensively this is kind of our first year under this system so you see some confusion and cracks in different areas, but I think we are improving with it and we like what we see so far.” When the Wolverine offense is running in high gear, it can really do damage quickly to a team. Peterson was the game’s leading scorer at 17 points, but he was helped by a great shooting performance by essentially every other player on the court. Brock Baldazo had 10 points off the bench, Aaron Fleming and Justin Savatdy both had eight points and two makes from behind the 3-point line, Avery Bryant had seven points and Kolton Gill chipped in five. “That’s kind of what we envisioned three years ago when we went to more of a ball-movement offense,” Plett said of the way his players get involved offensively. “We used to have a lot of set plays but we went to more ball movement and we just realized when you only have one or two guys other teams are going to key on that, and when you are relying on one or two guys every night if they have a bad game you are going to have a bad game as a team. “We try to pick what they do, what their strengths are and use that. We always talk about showing your strengths and hiding your weaknesses and most of the time we do a pretty good job of that, though sometimes some things show through. We are a very balanced team and that’s the way we want it to be.” Peterson said he has faith in every one of his teammates to step up and contribute, and as the team’s leading scorer that just makes his job easier. “I have Aaron, Kolton, Blaze [Krull], all those guys. I’ve got a great group of guys this year and I am really confident in them to knock down shots,” Peterson said. “Any of us can do that on any night, whoever is hottest is the person we are going to get the ball to.” In the five wins this year, GMG has won by at least 14 points, with four of those five being 20-plus point victories. Plett said he knows his guys have the ability to win big, but it’s the close games, like their 10-point losses to Iowa Star Conference South Division rivals Meskwaki and North Tama, that his guys have to learn to come out on top in. “The last three years we’ve had something like 10 or 12 games where we’ve had the lead in the second half and lost,” Plett said. “We have to figure out a way to finish those games, it’s about turnovers and rebounds a lot of times. Our guys have to understand when you get into those great or elite type of games, you are going to get into a game where the other team isn’t going to help you win and you have to go out and do it yourself. “A lot of people may not realize how good of a team we have just because they see, ‘well they lost by 10 points to Meskwaki and 10 points to North Tama.’ If we flip both of those games it’s a totally different story,” Plett continued. “We are plus-one right now, we are one game better than we were last year, and the first three or four games after break, every one of those games we will have a chance to flip another one. We just have to get after it and be ready.” GMG returns to action on Jan. 4 when it travels to face Dunkerton. GMG 55, Riceville 23 At Garwin RICEVILLE (1-8) — Brody Koenigs 0 2-2 2, Tanner Swenson 0 0-2 0, Charlie Ring 4 0-0 8, Sully Fair 3 0-0 8, Dylan Orth 1 0-0 3, Isaac Kuhn 0 0-0 0, Kevin Jordan 0 0-0 0, Watson Fahr 1 0-0 2, Isaac Harken 0 0-0 0, Shane Holmen 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 9 2-4 23 GMG (5-3) — Avery Bryant 3 1-2 7, Justin Savatdy 3 0-0 8, Kolton Gill 2 0-0 5, Aaron Fleming 3 0-0 8, Brayden Peterson 8 1-2 17, Brock Baldazo 5 0-0 10, Blaze Krull 0 0-0 0, Kooper Gill 0 0-0 0, Adam Cox 0 0-0 0, Alex Nuese 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24 2-4 55. RICEVILLE 8 4 6 5 — 23 GMG 16 16 15 8 — 55 3-Point Goals–Riceville 3 (Fair 2, Orth), GMG 5 (Savatdy 2, Fleming 2, Gill). Total Fouls–Riceville 7, GMG 11. Fouled Out–none.

Article Photos

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - GMG senior Kolton Gill (12) goes up for a shot over multiple Riceville defenders during the first half of the Wolverines’ 55-23 win over the Wildcats on Friday in Garwin.

 
 

 

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