GMG chalks up season’s first win, 45-32 over Regents
GARWIN – The streak is over.
And the Wolverines didn’t leave this one up to chance.
Breaking away with an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter, the GMG girls basketball team snapped a 19-game skid with a 45-32 triumph over Waterloo Christian in Iowa Star Conference South Division play Tuesday.
It was the Wolverines’ first win since defeating the same Regent squad Jan. 31, 2012.
Fighting through the adversity made the first win that much sweeter for GMG coach Justin Hornberg and his squad.
“I couldn’t be happier for them,” Hornberg said.
“Since Christmas break they’ve worked so hard. They needed something like this to let them know that the work they’re doing is worth it.”
Knotted at 28 early in the fourth, the Wolverines (1-15, 1-12) ramped up their defense and limited the Regents to just one field goal over the final six minutes. A Mikaella Koster jumper and a pair of free throws from Sara Hinson punctuated GMG’s decisive spurt to grab a 39-30 advantage with 3:17 to play.
Waterloo Christian’s Emily Wythein made a pair at the line to close the gap to seven, but the Wolverines’ defense refused to give an inch the rest of the way – forcing several turnovers late to seal it.
Waterloo Christian’s defense played the aggressor early as the Regents scored the first six points and led 12-4 after one when April Hall beat the buzzer with a basket in the paint.
“We came out so flat,” Hornberg said.
“We knew this was a winnable game for us and to come out so flat is inexcusable. I let them know about it and they picked up their intensity. They did what they needed to do and all the credit goes to them.”
Kaitlin Armbrecht nailed a 3 to give the Regents’ their largest lead at 17-6 early in the second, before the Wolverines rattled off 11 unanswered points through a combination of fast-break points and getting to the charity stripe. GMG finished 15-of-28 for the game, while the Regents were just 5-for-16.
Koster completed the run with a drive to the basket with 1:25 left in the half, as Waterloo Christian held an 18-17 edge at intermission.
Koster sparked the Wolverines in the third taking a charge and drawing another offensive foul against the Regents. Sara Hinson made two from the line giving GMG its first lead at 24-22 with 2:03 left in the quarter. The Regents would tie the score twice more but could never regain the upper hand as the Wolverines made 8 of their last 12 free throws to close it out.
Finally finding that elusive first win, Hornberg and the Wolverines are hungry for more.
“Hopefully we gained some confidence in ourselves and now we believe that we can do it,” Hornberg said. “We’ve got a stretch of games that I feel we can compete in. Hopefully this give us the confidence to be able to play the rest of the season the way I felt we should have played the entire year.”
Koster led GMG with 10 points, Autumn Rosacker had nine and Hinson added eight. Cheyenne Wurr and Olivia Barritt each chipped in six.
Wynthein led the Regents (3-13, 3-11) with nine points and Whitney Smith and Ashley Tiller each had six.
The Wolverines begin a three-game road trip Friday against Class 1A No. 9 Colo-NESCO.
The Regents won the previous meeting this season 39-38 in Waterloo Dec. 4.