Trojans turn tides on Spartans
Gradwell gets season-high 25 points as No. 13 West Marshall stops Grundy Center
GRUNDY CENTER — West Marshall’s gameplan to shut down Grundy Center shooter Hailey Wallis failed in the first quarter, letting the sophomore can four 3-pointers and nearly shut the Trojans out from scoring in the initial period.
But an 18-0 run out of halftime helped flip the tables on the Spartans (3-2, 1-2) and the Trojans (5-0, 3-0) came away with a 51-31 on the road in NICL West Division play.
Isabelle Gradwell had a season-high 25 points and five 3-pointers, and Kayla Cripps added 10 points in West Marshall’s win.
Wallis led the Spartans with 17 points, coming on five 3-pointers as well.
West Marshall head coach Fred Zeller said his team came out a little slower than he wished against Grundy Center, which outscored the Trojans 12-3 in the first quarter. In fact, the Trojans’ first basket of the game came on a Gradwell 3-pointer with 48 seconds left.
“We were kind of sleepy in the first half,” Zeller said. “Everything was in slow motion. The offense, the defense, we didn’t cover the perimeter. We talked about guarding Wallis, that was our main gameplan. And she came out and hit four [3s] like she changed numbers or something.”
Wallis led the Spartans with 12 points through the first half, making four 3-pointers. She made just one in the entire second half.
The Trojans switched their full-court press with about four minutes left in the second quarter. That’s when the Spartans really lost control, turned the ball over and allowed a double-digit lead become just six before the break.
“We just made some bad decisions,” said Grundy Center head coach Matt Lindeman. “It was just one of those things, they gained a little momentum going into halftime and then we had a tough time being able to get some shots to fall in the second half. They rebounded a lot; a lot of second chance points to start the second half. They started to rebound very well.”
West Marshall pulled down 37 total rebounds, 19 of which were offensive. Emma Meyer led the way with 10 boards, five offensive and five defensive. 3-pointers from players like Gradwell and Kayla Cripps and another deep 2-pointer from Madde Green all came on second-chance efforts.
“We rebounded two or three times when we’d miss badly, then we’d kick it back out and get another 3,” Zeller said. “I thought in the second half, we did a heck of a job blocking out. And we got a lot of scramble balls. In the second half, we got most of them.”
Cripps in fact hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Trojans their first lead of the night at 26-24, and they never looked back after. The six quick points helped spark an 18-0 run that was finally broken by a Brooke Flater layup.
“Their defense was geared to shut down Gradwell, and they did a good job of that,” Zeller said. “And our other kids just sat and watched. But it changed around when Cripps came up and had three or four 3-pointers, and she’s been working on that. She’s been working on that, so it wasn’t a fluke. She’ll be a good shooter, also.”
Zeller said 3-point shooting from Cripps and Gradwell will be imperative to the Trojan offense, but finding players like Teresa Disney and Green inside will also prove to be pivotal as well. Green had just two points, while Disney tallied six.
Flater finished with seven points for the Spartans, and Reegan Zinkula put in a 3-pointer in the first half for her three points as well. Both Sydney Mathews and Kylie Willis helped out the Grundy Center scoring effort with two points apiece.
“We felt like we had a good game plan,” Lindeman said. “It’s just a matter of us sustaining that. At some point, [Gradwell] was able to get some shots off, off of ball screens and rotations. For us, a little disappointing. We’re better than what we showed in the second half, but we’ve got to be able create some offense for four quarters consistently.”
Meyer had eight points off the bench as well to help the Trojans in their win. Next up for West Marshall is a home game against BCLUW on Tuesday, then a road game at South Hardin on Friday. Grundy Center will head to Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Tuesday before hosting Sumner-Fredericksburg on Friday.
West Marshall 51, Grundy Center 31
WEST MARSHALL (5-0, 3-0) — Brooke Snider 0 0-0 0, Shannon Breja 0 0-0 0, Kayla Cripps 3 1-3 10, Isabelle Gradwell 8 4-8 25, Emma Meyer 2 3-5 8, Georgia Porter 0 0-0 0, Madde Green 1 0-0 2, Teresa Disney 2 2-7 6, Emma Reyerson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 10-23 51.
GRUNDY CENTER (3-2, 1-2) — Reegan Zinkula 1 0-0 3, Hailey Wallis 6 0-0 17, Madison McMartin 0 0-0 0, Sydney Mathews 1 0-0 2, Brooke Flater 3 1-1 7, Jessica Ayers 0 0-0 0, Landry Luhring 0 0-0 0, Cora Saak 0 0-0 0, Kylie Willis 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 12 1-1 31.
W. MARSHALL 3 13 22 13 — 51
GRUNDY CTR. 12 9 8 2 — 31
3-Point Goals–WM 9 (Gradwell 5, Cripps 3, Meyer), GC 6 (Wallis 5, Zinkula). Totals Fouls–WM 11, GC 19.