BCLUW shooting downs GMG

Senior Avery Bryant goes up for a shot during GMG’s playoff opener at BCLUW. Bryant led with 23 points but GMG took the loss 47-36. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

CONRAD — The first quarter of Monday night’s Class 1A regional basketball game between BCLUW and GMG was a battle of attrition. Seven total points scored, three shots made and not much else. It was an inauspicious start to the night for the Comets — and the Wolverines for that matter, despite holding a 4-3 advantage.

But in the second quarter, the Comets took charge and didn’t give up control of the contest again.

A 14-0 second quarter gave BCLUW the momentum it needed to pull off a 47-36 win over the Wolverines (9-10) Monday night to move on to the second round of districts.

The win pushed BCLUW’s record on the season to 10-12 – the most wins a Comets boys basketball team has had since the 2011-12 team went 12-11.

Head coach Evan Janssen said the team is happy with the win but not satisfied with just one win in the playoffs.

“We didn’t talk about anything in terms of double-digit (wins),” Janssen said. “We talked about Grundy Center. We’re really fired up about it, we really want that one. They’ve got a little bit of a fire in their stomachs about it.”

The Comets started very slow on the offensive end, thanks in part to dogged GMG defense packing the paint and shutting off some of BCLUW’s preferred drive-and-dish sets. But the Wolverines’ inability to make shots kept the Comets close by — and when the threes started falling, the complexion of the game turned on its head.

The Comets were led by the 3-point shooting duo of Noah Gallentine and Tanner McLeland, both of whom scored 12 points on four made threes each.

Janssen said the three ball did a great job of stopping any GMG momentum in the second half.

“They made a run here in the fourth quarter and the third quarter as well,” Janssen said. “It was important to try and stay ahead. Every time they started making a run, we hit a three.”

Colton Keller scored eight points for the Comets.

In the second half GMG fought back and scored 32 points, but the offense ran almost exclusively through senior big Avery Bryant. In his final game for the Wolverines, Bryant scored 23 points and controlled the boards. His physical play kept GMG hanging around but the Wolverines failed to hit a 3-pointer. Brayden Duden scored six points.

GMG coach Michael Plett was left to ponder a successful step forward this season undone in the playoffs by a simple problem — the inability to make shots early on.

“We could not make a basket,” Plett said. “It just seemed like we missed a lot of layups, missed a lot of close shots, shots that should go in a normal percentage of the time. They weren’t doing anything special defensively, we just couldn’t make a shot, and that seems to be the pattern with this team.”

The Comets will visit Grundy Center for the second round of districts on Thursday at 7 p.m.

BCLUW 47, GMG 36

GMG (9-10) — Austin Vaverka 0 1-2 1, Kooper Gill 1 0-2 2, Zach Krull 1 0-0 2, Jabari Woodbury 1 0-0 2, Avery Bryant 11 1-1 23, Noah Teske 0 0-0 0, Abe Dieleman 0 0-0 0, Brayden Duden 2 2-2 6. TOTALS 16 4-7 36.

BCLUW (10-12) — Colton Keller 3 2-3 8, Noah Gallentine 4 0-0 12, Jesse Moore 2 0-0 5, Parker Pike 2 0-0 4, Jack Hughes 2 0-2 4, Cayden McLeland 2 0-0 4, Tanner McLeland 4 0-0 12, Noah Cross 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 19 2-6 47.

GMG 4 0 14 16 — 36

BCLUW 3 14 10 18 — 47

3-Point Goals-BCLUW 9 (Gallentine 4, McLeland 4, Moore). Total Fouls-GMG 11, BCLUW 15. Fouled Out-none.