Wolverines ward off BCLUW rally

GMG’s Mykel Ratliff (21) shoots over the outstretched defense of BCLUW’s Parker Pike (25) during the waning moments of Monday’s basketball game in Conrad. Ratliff scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Wolverines to a thrilling 64-61 win. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

A win is a win for GMG boys’ basketball — but what was a comfortable 20-point fourth quarter lead turned quickly into a stress-filled final minute, as the Wolverines withstood a wild comeback from BCLUW to sneak away with a 64-61 victory Monday night and improve to 5-8 on the season. The Comets, despite scoring 25 points in the fourth quarter to get back into the action, fall to 1-13.

Jumping out to a 12-4 lead early in the first quarter, the Wolverines held a 18-14 lead after the opening eight minutes. It was the second quarter, though, where GMG began to open up its lead behind scoring from Mykel Ratliff — he scored 20 points to pace the team while also providing a boost defensively with deflections to help the team get into transition.

GMG head coach Kyle Jorgensen said his role is important to how the team plays.

“He’s great at poking the ball,” Jorgensen said. “Getting those steals for transition layups, that’s where we really roll, and if not then kicking it out to someone else.”

BCLUW, on the other hand, was missing shots in the paint and giving up offensive rebounds. Rebounds are especially important for the Comets and the style they play, and head coach Evan Janssen said it was key to the game almost completely getting away from them.

Photo by Noah Rohlfing

“I’m really happy we had an opportunity to play a game where it was really close,” Janssen said. “But I’m very disappointed because I think that, had we rebounded from the get-go, we would have been just fine.”

GMG led 39-23 at the half and in the third quarter pushed the lead to as much as 19 points, holding a convincing 52-36 edge going into the final eight minutes of play. The Wolverines got scoring in the second half from Colin Teske with 15 points and Abe Dieleman with 10.

But after going ahead 56-36 with seven minutes to play, GMG’s baskets stopped falling. On the other end, BCLUW began to make shots it had missed all game long and slowly chipped away at the gap. Once it got to 60-47, the Comets put their full-court press on and raised the intensity. GMG began to turn the ball over, and BCLUW was happy to convert those added possessions into points. Jorgensen called a timeout when the score was 61-54 to try and calm down his players, but a three-pointer from Cael Keller (who led BCLUW with 20 points) and two floaters from Cayden McLeland tied the game up at 61 with less than one minute remaining.

Three free throws from Ratliff in the final 45 seconds eventually sealed the win.

The great escape was also a lesson Jorgensen hopes the team has now learned, but he was pleased to see how much progress they’ve made since he took over in December.

Photo by Noah Rohlfing

“Part of me is kinda happy it ended this way so we could learn from our mistakes,” Jorgensen said.

BCLUW and GMG play at Colo-NESCO next — GMG on Tuesday night, BCLUW on Thursday.

GMG 64, BCLUW 61

GMG (5-8) — Patrick Savatdy 0 0-0 0, Mykel Ratliff 7 10-17 26, Kooper Gill 4 1-3 9, Jabari Woodbury 1 1-2 3, Abe Dieleman 4 2-4 10, Brenden Becker 0 0-1 0, Zach Burgess 0 1-2 1, Colin Teske 6 0-0 15. TOTALS 22 15-29 64.

BCLUW (1-13) — Cayden McLeland 5 1-2 12, Carter Gallentine 0 0-0 0, Cael Keller 8 1-1 20, Grant Parker 2 0-0 4, Owen Meyers 0 0-2 0, Lincoln Stover 0 0-0 0, Mason Engle 0 0-0 0, Parker Pike 6 2-4 14, Nick Pieper 0 0-0 0, Hayden Schleisman 5 1-1 11. TOTALS 26 5-10 61.

GMG 18 21 14 11 — 64

BCLUW 14 9 13 25 — 61

3-Point Goals-GMG 5 (Teske 3, Ratliff 2), BCLUW 4 (Keller 3, McLeland). Team Fouls-GMG 13, BCLUW 23. Fouled Out-Gallentine, Schleisman, Owen Meyeyrs. Technical Foul-Schleisman.