Warriors gain space from GMG
Meskwaki breaks away from tie atop Iowa Star South by beating Wolverines 74-52
GARWIN — A mid-season top-of-the-division matchup between the Meskwaki Warriors and the GMG Wolverines boys’ basketball teams Friday night ended with the Warriors grabbing control of the division race with a 74-52 convincing road win over the Wolverines (6-3, 4-1 Iowa Star South).
The Warriors (6-3, 5-0 Iowa Star South) jumped out to an early 10-1 lead, rattling GMG on the defensive side of the ball and turning missed shots into transition baskets. Wolverines head coach Michael Plett was frustrated with the team’s lack of offensive intensity in the first eight minutes, saying it helped cost them the game.
“We shot ourselves in the foot in the first quarter,” Plett said. “We spent entirely too much time getting into our offense, and we just seemed confused about what we were doing. I don’t know what was going on out there. Second quarter was probably one of the most exciting quarters we’ve played this year.”
Trailing 13-8 after the first quarter, the Wolverines scored more and were largely in the game in the second period before a late run by the Warriors bumped the score to 40-23 at the halftime whistle.
Leading the way on the floor was junior Osceola Tyon, who scored 21 of his career-high 36 points in the first half. Tyon was getting any shot he wanted from 3-point range and hit mid-range jumpers as well.
The half was frustrating to Plett but he added that the second quarter performance helped show the team why they’ve improved enough to play games of such high importance — and how easily they can be lost.
On the other sideline was Warriors assistant coach Tyus Grant, who was filling in for Garrett Bear for the night.
Grant was vocal in his frustration with the Warriors’ second half start, in which two sloppy turnovers led to GMG baskets. But after making his frustrations known, the Warriors went on a run to push their lead to 25 by the end of the third quarter.
He was impressed with the team’s ability to reset after the rocky start.
“A thing that we’re pushing this year is that there’s always the next play,” Grant said. “One thing I talk about personally is the last three minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the second half are very important and crucial. You gotta come out strong. I wouldn’t say we came out flat-footed, I think it was just sloppy, and just to see them turn around the way they did and say ‘Calm down, buckle down and let’s go,’ I thought that was wonderful. They did a great job of that.”
The fourth quarter was not much more than a moot point, as Meskwaki at one point stretched the lead to 31 points before the benches emptied for the rest of the game. Taurice Grant chipped in with 16 points for Meskwaki and Larnell Bear scored six.
Avery Bryant scored 22 points for GMG, leading the way while Austin Vaverka scored 10 points — one of the promising freshmen who have helped GMG to its strong start.
The two teams will play against each other once more on Feb. 2.
Meskwaki hosts Dunkerton Saturday evening while GMG travels to Janesville Monday night.
Meskwaki 74, GMG 52
MESKWAKI (6-3, 5-0) — Osceola Tyon 15 0-0 36, Larnell Bear 3 0-0 6, Taurice Grant 6 4-5 16, Evan Nelson 2 0-0 4, Tiernan Wanatee 2 0-0 4, Davyin Guevara 1 1-2 3, Desmond Kapayou 0 0-0 0, Sage Keahna 0 0-0 0, Bishop Chavez 2 1-3 5, Zayton Weninger-Brown 0 0-0 0, Reimundo Balderas 2 0-0 4. TOTALS 31 6-10 74.
GMG (6-3, 4-1) — Avery Bryant 8 6-10 22, Austin Vaverka 2 6-7 10, Jabari Woodbury 2 1-2 5, Kooper Gill 2 1-3 6, Zach Krull 3 0-0 6, Zach Buress 0 1-2 1, Noah Teske 0 0-0 0, Brenden Becker 1 0-0 2, Abe Dieleman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 15-24 52.
MESKWAKI 13 27 23 11 — 74
GMG 8 15 15 14 — 52
3-Point Goals–Meskwaki 6 (Tyon 6), GMG 1 (Gill). Team Fouls–Meskwaki 18, GMG 10. Fouled out–Dieleman.