GMG controls glass, handles Dunkerton

GMG’s Adelyn Sienknecht attempts a 3-pointer over Dunkerton defender Miley Schilling during the first half of Thursday’s basketball game in Garwin. Sienknecht had 10 points for the Wolverines in their 58-40 victory. PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Following a heartbreaking one-point loss to Waterloo Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 3 GMG girls’ basketball was faced Thursday with an opportunity to get back on track. Dunkerton’s size would be an issue for the Wolverines, until it wasn’t — GMG controlled the glass for much of the second half and made a living in the paint on offense. The result was a 58-40 win to push GMG to 7-3 on the season.

Head coach Mick Long called it the best performance of the season for the Wolverines.

“We did so many things well today,” Long said. “They were a bigger team, taller, stronger. I thought that would give us problems, and I think this was the best defensive performance of the season.

“That was our best game of the year, I believe.”

Dunkerton (4-6) held an early lead, but after taking a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter the Wolverines never trailed. It was in the second quarter that GMG began to put its post game to especially good use, using a changed offensive system to create better drive lanes and more interior passing opportunities. GMG dropped passes into the low post frequently and with success, allowing Mariah Stonewall to score a game-high 22 points. Stonewall was essential to GMG’s success on the boards as well, creating second-chance opportunities with her movement in the paint. Adelyn Sienknecht joined Stonewall in double figures with 10 points, and Reese Dieleman had eight.

GMG’s Marriah Stonewall (54) shoots over the Dunkerton defense on her way to a game-high 22 points in Thursday’s Iowa Star Conference basketball game in Garwin. The host Wolverines won 58-40. PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

A 24-18 lead got as high as 36-21 in the third quarter thanks to the aforementioned interior passing and what Long called the Wolverines’ best defensive showing of the year. The Raiders hit threes in the first half but easy baskets dried up in the third and fourth quarters.

“The girls have really done a nice job knowing where shooters are,” Long said. “They weren’t thinking tonight — it was just happening.”

After making a brief push to get within 11 at the start of the fourth, Dunkerton ran out of baskets — and GMG was more than happy to sit back on defense and take advantage in transition. When the Raiders put a press on to try and unsettle GMG ballhandlers, the Wolverines broke it with ease and found open layups. The press was swiftly called off.

Bouncing back from the loss Tuesday was an example of what Long said has been a quick adjustment to a new coach this season.

“I knew it was going to take time but tonight I think we saw it all come together,” Long said. “I can’t say enough about the girls, all of them. They’ve been a pleasure to coach. I haven’t had anything negative to say about them, except when they don’t rebound.”

Up next for GMG is a home matchup with Meskwaki Friday, Jan. 13. Tip-off is expected to be at 6:30 p.m.