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Neillsville buries Gilman with big first half; Loyal escapes in first game


The Neillsville Warriors are viewed as one of the top contenders for this year’s Eastern Cloverbelt Conference championship and they proved it Friday with a resounding 94-52 win over the visiting Gilman Pirates.

A team that doesn’t shy away from firing away, the Warriors made 15 of 38 3-point attempts, including six of 12 from all-conference junior guard Braden Trunkel and four of 10 from their other all-conference guard, senior Alex King. King finished with a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double and Trunkel had 20 points as the Warriors improved to 2-0 in conference play. They are 2-1 overall after falling 53-52 at Edgar Monday.

Neillsville tore out to a 58-27 halftime lead and outscored the Pirates 36-27 in the second half.

The Pirates weren’t bad from 3-point range themselves, hitting nine of 24, but they were just 12 of 39 on two-point shots. With help from a 49-22 rebounding advantage and 21 Gilman turnovers, Neillsville got off 73 shots and made just under half of them (35).

Andrew Hecker was four of five from behind the arc and led Gilman with 23 points. He added six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Blake Wisocky hit two 3-pointers and grabbed four rebounds in an eight-point outing. Jordan Goebel also sank two 3s and finished with six points.

Ethan Grunseth and Connor Mravik scored five points apiece. Grunseth had four rebounds and three steals. Mravik had three rebounds and hit a triple. Isaac Wininger scored four points and Zack Marion added a bucket and two boards.

Gilman’s non-conference home game Monday with Flambeau was postponed and will now be played on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Before then, the Pirates host Colby tonight, Thursday, at 7:15 p.m. and then travel to Granton Friday when they will play the host Bulldogs in game one of a boys/girls doubleheader at 5:45 p.m.

The Pirates will host Spencer in league play on Tuesday. The Rockets are off to a 2-0 league start, including a 7574 win Friday over defending champion Columbus Catholic.

Loyal 60, Gilman 49

The Loyal Greyhounds scored 18 points from the free throw line and only 16 from the field in the second half, but that was enough for them to outlast host Gilman 60-49 in the Pirates’ season, conference and home opener on Dec. 3.

The Pirates put three scorers in double figures and were within two points with less than three minutes to go. But Loyal’s Kole Bodgonovich and his teammates put the game away from the foul line, where they were 22 of 38 overall in the game.

“The main issue was fouls,” Gilman head coach Wade Hendricks said.

Bogdonovich alone made 16 of 21 free throws and wound up with 31 points. He was 13 of 18 from the stripe in the second half. Loyal’s free throw frequency wasn’t limited to the second half. The Greyhounds shot 12 first-half free throws but made only four.

Loyal led 26-19 at halftime behind 10 points from Bogdonovich. Gilman hung tight by getting 10 first-half points from Hecker and a pair of scores from Grunseth. Peyton Heiman got warmed up for Gilman in the second half, scoring 10 of his 13 points. Hecker added nine more points to finish with a team-high 19 points that included four-of-seven shooting on 3-point tries. Grunseth added eight second-half points to finish with 12.

Mravik added a second-half 3 for Gilman and Wininger had a first-half bucket.

Heiman grabbed 14 rebounds and Hecker had 11, so both finished with double-doubles in their Pirate debuts. Mravik had eight boards. Grunseth had two assists. Wisocky had two steals and three rebounds.

Heiman blocked two shots.

The Pirates were 18 of 43 overall from the field (41.9%) and made seven of 13 free throws.

Trevyn Wilke and Daymain Beard added nine points apiece for Loyal.

“We definitely will be improving,” Hendricks said. “The team has to jell and I see it happening. I just wish we could’ve pulled this one off.”