No. 10 Spartans pummel Union

Junior Hailey Wallis scores half of Grundy Center’s points in 44-15 win

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Grundy Center junior Hailey Wallis (12) extends for a layup on a fast break while Union Community defender Allie Driscol contests during the first quarter of the Spartans’ 44-15 win over the Knights on Monday night.

GRUNDY CENTER — Frigid temperatures and poor road conditions postponed many of the athletic events in the state on Monday night, but a handful of basketball games were able to go, including the matchup between the Class 2A No. 10 Grundy Center girls and Union Community.

While temperatures may have been in the negatives outside, it didn’t take long for the Spartans to get warmed up, as they were rolling from the tip on their way to taking out the Knights, 44-15, for their sixth-straight win of the season.

Grundy Center junior Hailey Wallis, who hit two shots from behind the 3-point line in the opening quarter against Union, said the team has been striving to get better at the start of games, so it was good to see the girls start so strong.

“One thing we have been working on is starting off really strong and getting that momentum on our side before the game goes on and they start,” she said. “We just want to be ready before they are.”

It seemed the Knights (2-11) were never really ready for what the Spartans (12-1) were bringing on Monday, as Grundy Center jumped out to a 13-2 lead after the first quarter and extended that to 29-4 by halftime.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Grundy Center junior Brooke Flater, center, shoots a fadeaway jumper in the paint to score the first points of the night for the Spartans in their 44-15 win over Union Community on Monday night.

To make matters worse, after leading all scorers in the first half with 11 points, Wallis put her foot on the gas in the third quarter and doubled up her numbers, scoring another 11 points and officially putting the game out of reach.

Wallis said she hasn’t been shooting all that well in the last few games, so she was thrilled she was able to knock down five shots from 3-point land on her way to finishing with a game-high 22.

“The last couple of games I have been struggling a little with that, so making those shots definitely gave me confidence and I am glad that every single one of those points contributed to the team’s success,” Wallis said. “In the grand scheme of things, you can’t get a good shot if you don’t get a good pass.”

Wallis was the offensive story of the night, though the scoring behind her was very even for the Spartans. Kylie Willis finished second in points with six, followed by Maddie McMartin with five and Reegan Zinkula and Brooke Flater each with four.

The true star of the night was the Grundy Center defense, however, as they allowed their second-lowest opponent scoring total of the season against Union, and heading to the fourth quarter the Knights hadn’t scored more than four in a frame.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Spartans head coach Matt Lindeman said his girls have turned a corner defensively, as they haven’t allowed more than 29 points to any team since returning from winter break.

“We have been really coming around defensively, and that has always been our strong point,” Lindeman said after the win. “I think everyone is feeling pretty comfortable with where we are at and what we are able to do both in the press and in our half-court. Whether it’s generating steals or making them work to get into their half-court offense.”

As for how his offense was working, Lindeman said the team did struggle a bit to find shots to start off the game, but once it became clear Wallis had the hot hand their spacing and movement off of the ball got much better.

“I thought in the second half at times we got into some flow a little bit better,” Lindeman said. “We got some good looks, our outside shots were falling pretty well tonight, and we were able to push the pace, which is what we want to do.

“I am proud of the girls, they gave a great effort, which they do night in and night out, and we are just trying to clean things up on the offensive end.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

The Spartans have a couple more games on the road this week to gear up for what will truly be a test next week, as the team welcomes in West Marshall and AGWSR for games that will essentially determine the winner of the NICL West Division.

Wallis said she has total faith in her team’s ability to come out of that tough stretch unscathed, especially if they work on pushing the ball up the court and fall back on their years of experience playing with each other.

“We’ve played together since third grade and that’s kind of been our style for as long as we can remember. Pushing the ball, getting those fast-break layups,” Wallis said. “Obviously we have to work on executing it, especially with a big week coming up because in those games those points are going to cost us. That’s definitely something we need to focus on coming into next week, but we are taking it one game at a time.”

Lindeman said this has been a great six-game winning streak, the second the Spartans have had this season, but if they want to win against the Trojans and Cougars, his girls have to continue to up their game.

“We just need to, offensively, be able to play at a higher and faster level,” he said. “Whether that’s thinking, reacting, passing faster, all those things we need to just get everyone on the same page. Tonight I think we had three out of the five on the same page at different times, so it’s just working that way. Some nights it’s man, some nights it’s zone, and we just have to be effective on both.”

Up next this week for the Grundy Center girls is a road match against Tripoli on Thursday and an away NICL West contest against BCLUW on Friday.

Grundy Center 44, Union 15

At Grundy Center

UNION (2-11) — Allie Carty 1 0-0 2, Kayla Lambe 1 0-0 2, Natalie Tecklenburg 1 0-0 2, Megan Carty 1 0-0 2, Emily Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Emma Shirk 1 0-0 2, Allie Driscol 1 0-0 3, Carlie Hoppe 1 0-0 2, Aubrey Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Kaylin Brustkern 0 0-0 0, Samantha Glenn 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 7 0-0 15.

GRUNDY CENTER (12-1) — Hailey Wallis 8 1-2 22, Maddie McMartin 2 0-0 5, Sydney Matthews 0 0-0 0, Kylie Willis 3 0-0 6, Brooke Flater 2 0-0 4, Reegan Zinkula 2 0-0 4, Jessica Ayers 0 0-0 0, Sarah Lindeman 0 0-0 0, Cora Saak 1 0-0 3, Leslie Homeister 0 0-0 0, Brianna Heltibridle 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 1-2 44.

Union 2 2 4 7 — 15

Grundy Ctr. 13 16 15 0 — 44

3-Point Goals–Union 1 (Driscol), GC 7 (Wallis 5, Saak, McMartin). Total Fouls–Union 2, GC 7. Fouled Out–none.