GMG offense can’t keep up with Meskwaki

Stout defense, scoring pace Meskwaki in win over GMG

GMG’s Jocee Mason (11) drives against Meskwaki’s Summer Youngbear (25) during the second half of Monday’s game at Meskwaki Settlement School. Mason scored six points for GMG. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

A tight game heading into the second half quickly became a comfortable win for the Meskwaki girls’ basketball team Monday night against GMG. A 14-2 third quarter run pushed a five-point halftime lead to a 33-16 gap, and the Warriors kept GMG at bay in the fourth quarter to earn a 44-24 victory and move to 15-4 on the season. The Warriors are 9-3 in Iowa Star South play and second place in the division. GMG drops to 6-10 on the season and 4-6 in ISS play.

Meskwaki head coach Emmett Whalen said he was pleased with how well the team played in the second half on the defensive side of the ball.

“I liked most of what I saw,” Whalen said. “I thought we gave up a couple of easy baskets but we held them to 10 points in the second half, when you do that you can’t be too upset.”

The Warriors led 10-5 after the first quarter and were up 12-5 early in the second quarter, but the Wolverines made a run and tied the game at 12 after Wakinyela Bear and Kalayna White went to the bench with two fouls. A late run put Meskwaki in the lead at the half.

Part of the reason for GMG’s success in the second quarter was a box-and-one defense used on Warriors guard Geanna Bear when Wakinyela was out of the game.

But in the second half, Meskwaki was able to create more on the offensive end — in the half court and in transition. GMG struggled to handle the Warriors’ 1-2-1-1 diamond press in the second half, with turnovers and 10-second violations giving more possessions and scoring opportunities to the Warriors.

GMG head coach Justin Hornberg said the lack of offensive momentum doomed the Wolverines.

“In the second half you can’t score 10 points and give up 25 in any game,” Hornberg said. “We tried getting into some more sets tonight, we weren’t ready for it. It’s pretty easy to run it 5-on-0 when it’s in practice, but when you’ve got a pretty darn good guard trying to deny you the ball on the wing, things break down.”

The Wolverines kept Wakinyela below her regular-season scoring average of 18.9 points, but the senior still scored a game-high 13 to lead the way for the Warriors and was the only player in the game to hit double figures. Meskwaki’s secondary scorers also stepped up and chipped in to push the Warriors over the top — nine points from Sia Bear, eight points from Summer Youngbear and five from Sitara Xiavong. Geanna Bear scored four. Whalen said he has been happy about the progress of the team’s other scoring options (in addition to Geanna and Wakinyela) over the past few games.

“They’ve been stepping up,” Whalen said. “Sia’s been playing well, Sitara’s playing well, Kalayna got in a little foul trouble and got maybe a bit frustrated tonight but she’s played well, Summer’s playing well. Our bench has been playing pretty well.”

Marriah Stonewall led the Wolverines in scoring with eight points, while Jocee Mason scored six and the duo of Adelyn Sienknecht and Jenna Yilek scored four points each.

Meskwaki plays Tuesday night on the road against Tripoli. GMG visits unbeaten Baxter, the champions in the Iowa Star South.

Meskwaki 44, GMG 24

GMG (6-10, 4-6) — Jocee Mason 3 0-4 6, Jenna Yilek 2 0-2 4, Reese Dieleman 0 1-2 1, Adelyn Sienknecht 2 0-0 4, Marriah Stonewall 2 4-6 8, Colby Miller 0 0-0 0, Emilie Claussen 0 0-0 0, Dylan Mathern 0 1-2 1, Maecyn Lewis 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 9 6-16 24.

MESKWAKI (15-4, 9-3) — Wakinyela Bear 5 2-2 13, Geanna Bear 1 2-5 4, Sia Bear 3 3-4 9, Kalayna White 1 1-2 3, Summer Youngbear 4 0-2 8, Shye Johnson 1 0-0 2, Sitara Xiavong 2 0-0 5. TOTALS 17 8-15 44.

GMG 5 9 2 8 — 24

MESKWAKI 10 9 14 11 — 44

3-Point Goals-Meskwaki 2 (W.Bear, Xiavong). Team Fouls-GMG 15, Meskwaki 14. Fouled Out-White.