Wolverines cage Huskies, 71-32

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • GMG junior Brayden Peterson (22) goes in for a layup while Cedar Valley Christian’s Jackson Foote looks on during the second half of the Wolverines’ 71-32 thumping of the Huskies on Monday night.

GARWIN — After a hot 4-0 start to the season, the GMG basketball cooled off last week with back-to-back losses to Iowa Star Conference South Division foes Meskwaki and Colo-NESCO.

Looking to get back to their winning ways, the Wolverines knew they needed to stiffen up on the defensive end after allowing a combined 131 points to the Warriors and Royals, and that’s exactly what they were able to do, holding Cedar Valley Christian to a season-low 32 points in a 71-32 victory on Monday night.

GMG head coach Michael Plett said in the days of practice leading up to the matchup with the Huskies, his team focused intently on defensive effort, and that showed in their most recent win.

“Our biggest emphasis coming into this game was defense,” Plett said. “We were not very good the last two games defensively, I think we let those teams score more than they were averaging and that was a big thing coming into this game, we wanted to lock them down defensively.”

The Wolverines were stifling on defense all night, and it only seemed to get better as the game drew on. After giving up only 11 points in the first quarter, GMG allowed just nine in each of the second and third quarters, then finished the game by only surrendering three points in the fourth quarter.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • GMG junior Aaron Fleming, top, hovers while readying a shot during the first half of the Wolverines’ big win over Cedar Valley Christian on Monday.

Only three Huskies (1-7) even found the bottom of the net, and when the Cedar Valley Christian missed shots, the Wolverines (5-2) were waiting in the wings to snatch up a rebound.

“Rebounding is a team sport, it takes all five guys,” he said. “It’s not just the guys who gets the rebound, you have to have all five people screening out. That’s another thing we stressed, the team gets one shot and they are done, then we want to get the rebound and push. I was very pleased with our effort, especially in rebounding.”

Brock Baldazo was the leader on the boards with 11 rebounds for GMG, while he also turned in a double-double with 14 points. Offensively, the star for the Wolverines was leading scorer Brayden Peterson, who had a game-high 22 points and seemed to score at will against the Huskies. Junior Aaron Fleming also scored 12 points, to give GMG as many double-digit scorers as the Huskies had total scorers.

Peterson said before the game even started, he had a good feeling about his squad getting right against Cedar Valley Christian.

“I felt pretty confident going into the game,” Peterson said after his most recent 20-point night. “Warmups were good and I just felt confident going into the game knowing we could win it.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Peterson wasn’t just a scoring threat on the night, he was running the offense from the point and making sure everyone got a look at the basket, leading to eight Wolverines scoring in the game.

Plett said Peterson’s game is so much more than just scoring the ball, and he brings something to every part of the court for GMG.

“He leads us in terms of he can score, but also the amount of points he’s responsible for because of his assists,” Plett said of his floor general. “He also get rebounds, he competes in every statistical category. He gets steals, takes charges, the whole thing. A lot of times the point guard is the extension of the coach on the floor, so he sets the tone right away, gets us into a good offensive possession and gets the ball moving and gets us going.”

That balance displayed by the Wolverines on Monday night is something that Plett said they strive for in every game, and in four of the five wins this season GMG has scored over 70 points with at least six guys contributing to that point total.

“The thing we always look for is ball movement and assists,” Plett said of the team’s approach. “Whether the ball is moving, whether we are cutting and finding the open guy, you’ve got to be unselfish to play on our team. That’s something we stress, it takes a team to score.”

This is a busy week for the GMG boys, as Monday was just one of three games in the next five days before the winter break. Next up is a road test tonight against North Tama, and Plett said considering the history between the two schools he isn’t taking anything for granted against the 1-6 Redhawks.

“It’s a rivalry game, and you get everyone’s best shot in a rivalry game. That gym’s going to be packed, they have us circled on the schedule and we know what we are going into,” Plett said. “We have to play well, we have to focus on us and if we play well then we have an opportunity to win and if we don’t play well we won’t have an opportunity to win.”

Peterson said a win tonight really boils down to two things for the Wolverines.

“Confidence and just stay focused, those are the main things,” he said.

North Tama and GMG will reignite their rivalry with a holiday showdown tonight, starting at 8 p.m. in Traer.

GMG 71,

Cedar Valley Christian 32

At Garwin

CEDAR VALLEY CHRISTIAN (1-7) — Cole Telecky 3 0-0 7, Jon Flamming 0 0-0 0, Elisha Lewis 0 0-0 0, Kyle Gustafson 6 1-3 15, Jackson Foote 5 0-2 10. TOTALS 14 1-5 32.

GMG (5-2) — Kolton Gill 2 0-2 5, Brock Baldazo 4 6-6 14, Brayden Peterson 10 0-0 22, Blaze Krull 2 0-0 5, Hunter Smoldt 3 0-0 6, Justin Savadty 2 0-0 5, Aaron Fleming 5 0-0 12, Adam Cox 1 0-0 2. TOTALS 28 6-8 71.

CV christian 11 9 9 3 — 32

GMG 21 26 14 11 — 71

3-Point Goals–CVC 3 (Gustafson 2, Telecky), GMG 7 (Fleming 2, Peterson 2, Savadty, Gill, Krull). Total Fouls–CVC 5, GMG 9. Fouled Out–none.