GMG wrecks Meskwaki’s perfect start
GARWIN – The GMG boy’s basketball team did not make a 3-pointer and turned the ball over 26 times but still found a way to hand Meskwaki Settlement School its first loss of the season Saturday.
The Wolverines jumped out to a big lead early, lost that advantage in the third quarter but still held on to beat the Warriors, 58-50, thanks to four free throws from Luke Petty in the final 23 seconds.
“We were lucky to win this game with 26 turnovers,” GMG coach Dean Aldrich said. “We played our best first quarter of the season but turned it over way too much, and that allowed them to get back in it.”
The fact that Meskwaki hit eight 3-pointers also helped the Warriors rally in the Iowa Star Conference game that was a make-up from the regularly scheduled game earlier this season.
The Warriors got down by as many 12 in the first quarter and trailed by 11 at the break. However, once Meskwaki figured out it was no longer on winter break, the Warriors got back to playing their “in-your-shorts” defense in the second half.
“I think with the extended break, the intensity of our players wasn’t there in the first half,” Meskwaki coach Dina Keahna said. “We got to playing hard in the second half. We had opportunities in the second half and that was because of our defense.”
GMG had little trouble scoring in the first quarter. The Wolverines did not take a jump shot until the second because they found open lanes on the drive or through hard cuts to the basket. All 22 points scored in the first period came inside the lane.
“That was our best first quarter of the year,” Aldrich said. “The second quarter we started to struggle, but we couldn’t ask for much more in the first half other than the 13 turnovers.
“We kind of compared (Meskwaki) to a bee hive. They are just on you. They just want the ball.”
Terrell Grant’s second 3-pointer of the first quarter came at the horn and cut the GMG lead to nine and Adonis Lasley added another triple on the Warriors’ first possession of the second quarter to make it a six-point game.
Bridger Claassen and Brock Fisher scored back-to-back hoops a bit later to push the advantage back to double-digits. Petty set up Chad Plaehn on the next GMG possession and then sank a bucket at the horn to give the home team an 11-point lead heading into halftime.
“We were the underdogs going into this one,” said Aldrich. “We needed to come out and play hard and get a win at home.”
Fisher came out on fire in the third, scoring three of his five buckets of the contest in the first 4 minutes of the quarter. The Wolverines led 40-27 after Fisher’s third basket, but a big rally by Meskwaki (6-1, 4-1) made things interesting in the final quarter.
“The first half for us sets the tone for the rest of the game,” Keahna said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we finally forgot about it and started playing well in the third quarter.”
The two biggest shots of the period for the Warriors came from DeMarce Keahna as he buried back-to-back treys at the end of the frame to make it 42-40 heading to the fourth.
“Once they do go on a streak, it is really hard for them not to take the three,” Keahna said. “They were just hesistant in the first half, forced some shots and second-guessed themselves. That’s where we lost the game, in the first half.”
Claassen battled foul trouble in the third quarter, but the Wolverines settled down in the fourth when he returned to the court. He scored the period’s first four points to give GMG some breathing room and then converted a three-point play a few minutes later to keep the Wolverines out in front by four. He finished with a game-high 17 points and also had four rebounds before fouling out late in the game.
The Warriors got as close as three on a Grant putback, but Petty sealed the win by sinking four free throws in the final seconds. The first pair of freebies came after an intentional foul and with the Warriors down 54-50.
“It was a big play, but I think it was the right call,” Aldrich said. “He grabbed him. He made no play on the ball really.
“Luke Petty is the guy we want on the line late in the game. We want the ball in his hands and he made sure he went and got the ball.”
Petty finished with 12 points and four rebounds, while Fisher had 10 points and a team-best six boards. Bryce Newcomb added eight points off the bench for GMG (5-2, 3-2) and Plaehn had a team-high four assists.
Grant finished with 17 points and three 3-pointers to lead the Warriors, while Allis Tahahwah chipped in 10 points and DeMarce Keahna nine. The Warriors were 8-of-16 from the line in the game.
Meskwaki was beaten on the court for the first time this season, but the Warriors could receive a loss by forfeit after allegedly using a player for too many quarters in one day against Colo-NESCO in a game right before the break. Colo-NESCO coach Pat Wynja said a decision could be made this week. Meskwaki Athletic Director Todd Dale told the T-R he had not been told anything as of Saturday night. … The Warriors will make up their home game with No. 6 Dunkerton on Monday, while GMG next plays Tuesday against Janesville in Garwin.