GARWIN - GMG boys basketball coach Dean Aldrich's theme for his squad was "start to finish."
Jumping out to a double-digit lead less than five minutes in, the Wolverines more than delivered.
Using a 12-0 flurry to claim a 17-point lead midway through the second quarter, the GMG boys basketball team cruised to it fourth win in five games, racing past Waterloo Christian 53-33 in an Iowa Star Conference South Division tilt Tuesday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
GMG’s Bridger Claussen, right, shoots over Levi Smith (23) and Danny Hall of Waterloo Christian during Tuesday’s Iowa Star Conference contest in Garwin.
"We wanted to start quick, so we could finish well," Aldrich said. "Just pressure the ball, get it and go."
The Wolverines (8-7, 7-5) hit the ground running from the opening tip as Blake Warren set the tone with eight of his game-high 15 points in the first five minutes as GMG led 16-5. The 6-foot-4 senior also was a force inside, hauling in seven rebounds and fighting for each and every loose ball.
"Sometimes we call him 'The Bull' and tonight he played like one," Aldrich said.
WATERLOO CHRISTIAN (3-13, 3-11) - Timothy Doering 5 0-0 12, Matt Gillen 0 0-0 0, Matt Miller 2 0-0 4, Levi Smith 3 0-1 7, Andrew Wiele 1 1-2 3, Zach Goedken 1 1-2 3, Danny Hall 0 2-4 0, Tyler Pritchett 0 0-0 0, Ben Fairchild 0 2-4 2. TOTALS 12 6-13 33.
GMG (8-7, 7-5) - Chad Plaehn 4 0-0 8, Luke Petty 1 1-2 3, Austin Vaughn 1 0-2 2, Bryce Newcomb 5 0-0 11, Brock Fisher 5 1-1 11, Blake Warren 7 1-1 15, Bridger Claussen 0 1-2 1, Dillon Slingluff 0 0-0 0, Matt Carlon 0 0-2 0, Lucas Catherwood 1 0-0 2, Dusty Savatdy 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24 4-10 53.
3-Point Goals - WC 3 (Doering 2, Smith); GMG 1 (Newcomb).
"He's our best rebounder and strongest kid. He didn't play a lot of minutes, but it was probably his best game while he was in there."
A layup from Warren and two straight buckets from Brock Fisher capped the Wolverines' 12-0 blitz early in the second, stretching the margin to 29-12 with 4:35 left in the half.
Warren's energy carried over for the rest of the squad, which used stifling defense from end-to-end to make each trip up the court an arduous affair for the Regents.
"I think we maybe wore them down a little, since they're not that deep," Aldrich said.
Warren added a three-point play and a putback before Chad Plaehn added a basket inside to stretch the lead to 36-18 at the break. Aldrich went to his bench for the much of the second half as the Regents never got closer than 20 over the final two quarters. It was the third lowest scoring output the Wolverines have given up this season.
Fisher and Bryce Newcomb poured in 11 points apiece, while Plaehn had eight points and six boards. Austin Vaughn pulled down seven rebounds and Luke Petty had three steals.
Freshman guard Timothy Doering paced Waterloo Christian (3-13, 3-11) with 12 points including a pair of treys.
Levi Smith added seven points for the Regents, while leading scorer Danny Hall didn't make a field goal and was held to just two points - 10 below his season average.
The Wolverines start a three-game road swing Friday against Colo-NESCO. GMG lost to the Royals 63-57 in overtime in their previous meeting at Garwin. GMG finishes the road trip with Class 1A No. 10 North Tama next Tuesday and Cedar Valley Christian
"We've got a tough road ahead," Aldrich said. "We need to win a couple of those.
The Wolverines won the previous meeting 74-42 in Waterloo Dec. 4. GMG had their highest scoring output in a game and a quarter against Waterloo Christian with a 31-point outburst in the second period ... GMG is 3-3 in games decided by 7 points or less.