GMG boys fall to N. Tama

GMG’s Avery Bryant goes up for a layup in the Wolverines home game against North Tama on Jan. 29. Bryant and teammate Jabari Woodbury each had a team-high 17 points against the Redhawks. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

GARWIN — North Tama coach Alex Tagtow chuckled when thinking about the last 60 seconds of his team’s 57-54 win on the road against Iowa Star South rivals GMG Friday night.

“We kinda panicked a little bit,” Tagtow said. “We turned it over a couple times and we fouled both. We just needed to settle down, we only needed one more bucket.”

North Tama endured a poor first quarter, took control of the game in the second half and then nearly threw it all away against the Wolverines. The Redhawks let a 55-43 lead turn into a 55-54 lead in just over 40 seconds of game time, but getting over the finish line was well-earned after a difficult start to the contest.

The Wolverines were strong coming out of the gate and took a 15-11 lead into the second quarter, as the offense was running better early than it had in previous games. But in the second quarter as well as the fourth, a familiar trend from the post-Christmas break struck again — offensive lulls that put GMG on the back foot, coach Michael Plett said.

“We just struggled to score,” Plett said. “That’s been sort of the story after Christmas break. We just can’t get any kind of consistency from an offensive standpoint, we just go through too many scoring droughts.”

The Redhawks took advantage in the second quarter as Devin McKinley’s 15 first-half points pushed them to a 27-21 halftime lead. McKinley scored a game-high 18 points, all from behind the arc.

GMG got some of its momentum back in the third quarter and relied heavily on Avery Bryant’s inside presence. Bryant scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half. Freshman Jabari Woodbury scored 17 points as well, with eight coming in the second half. The Wolverines cut the North Tama lead to three entering the fourth quarter.

But off some turnovers and much better half-court offense, the Redhawks spread the lead out again in the early fourth quarter. Two threes from junior guard Gabe Kopriva (14 points) and baskets from Thomas Hulme (12 points) inside the paint pushed the lead to 55-43 with 1:05 left in the game, where it looked like the Redhawks would coast to the finish line.

But GMG had one last push left. Avery Bryant and Kooper Gill (seven points) were fouled, allowing the Wolverines to put points on the board without time coming off the clock. Bryant’s free throws cut the deficit to one. One free throw later, up 56-54 and with the game on the line, Tagtow called for a cross-court pass to Adam Greiner in an attempt to kill clock. It was successful, and seconds later a last-ditch 3-point attempt from Austin Vaverka (10 points) slowly bounced on the rim multiple times before falling to the ground.

Tagtow called it a learning experience.

“This crew of guys has never been in that situation, so it’s good to learn from it in a win instead of from a loss,” Tagtow said.

North Tama visits Gladbrook-Reinbeck Saturday, weather permitting. GMG will visit Meskwaki Tuesday night.

North Tama 57, GMG 54

NORTH TAMA (6-9, 4-5) — Gabe Kopriva 2 8-10 14, Devin McKinley 6 0-0 18, Michael Schrier 1 1-2 4, Adam Greiner 1 3-6 5, Dylan Hosek 1 0-0 2, Camden Clausen 0 0-0 0, Jared Dvorak 0 2-2 2, Thomas Hulme 6 0-1 12. TOTALS 17 14-21 57.

GMG (8-8, 6-4) — Avery Bryant 7 3-7 17, Austin Vaverka 4 2-3 10, Jabari Woodbury 8 0-0 17, Kooper Gill 1 5-6 7, Zach Krull 0 1-2 1, Noah Teske 1 0-0 2, Abe Dieleman 0 0-0 0, Brayden Duden 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 11-18 54.

N.T. 11 16 10 20 — 57

GMG 15 6 13 20 — 54

3-Point Goals-NT 9 (McKinley 6, Kopriva 2, Schrier), GMG 1 (Woodbury). Team Fouls-NT 19, GMG 20. Fouled out-Hulme.