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Pirates building momentum as they look toward the tournament


With Neillsville and Loyal pulling away from the pack to create a two-team race for the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference girls basketball championship, the Gilman Pirates are spending their February getting the best position they can in the standings and building momentum for the WIAA Division 5 post-season tournament.

On Tuesday, the Pirates earned their third straight lopsided win, taking care of last-place Granton 62-30 in Gilman. The win boosted Gilman’s league record to 8-5 and allowed the Pirates to leapfrog over Columbus Catholic for fourth place in the current standings.

Those two teams meet tonight, Thursday, in Gilman with the Pirates looking to make amends for a 60-43 defeat the Lady Dons handed them on Dec. 19.

Tuesday marked Gilman’s fourth game in six days and it showed, according to head coach Tammy Weir.

“The girls were tired,” she said. “The last three games have taken a toll on them. So I’m glad we get a break (Wednesday) night. We were smart with the ball, only seven turnovers. The girls rebounded pretty well.”

With 27 offensive rebounds and 49 overall, the Pirates gave themselves plenty of shot opportunities. They made 26 of 65 two-point shots and added 3-point makes from Grace Grunseth and Addyson Hopkins, who scored her first varsity points of the season with that shot.

The Pirates were balanced in the scoring department, led by Emma Warner’s 16 points as she made eight of 14 total shots and pulled down six rebounds. Emma Grunseth added to her doubledouble collection with 12 points and 13 rebounds. She added three steals and three assists. Grace Grunseth had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, coming tantalizingly close to a triple-double.

Aubrey Syryczuk scored eight points and had five rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. Tatum Weir chipped in with seven points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. Sophomores Madisyn James, Kya Dietzler and Hannah Vick all scored two points. Mikayla Waichulis grabbed five rebounds and had an assist. Katelynn Schmitt had four rebounds, a steal and an assist.

After tonight’s game with Columbus Catholic, the Pirates head to Owen-Withee for a Tuesday matchup with the Blackhawks, who have surged recently to a 6-7 mark in the conference. The Pirates host Flambeau Feb. 14 in non-conference play.

Gilman 67, Spencer 41

On Friday, the Pirates took control with a strong first half and eased to a 6741 win over the visiting Spencer Rockets, completing a season sweep of their conference rivals. Behind 16 first-half points from Grace Grunseth and nine more from Syryczuk, the Pirates tore out to a 35-12 halftime lead.

Spencer cut into the deficit early in the second half, pulling within 40-22 at the 12:56 mark and 49-34 with 7:29 left. But the Pirates went on a 9-2 spurt over the next three minutes to regain control.

“We played a great game” Tammy Weir said. “The girls stayed strong even when Spencer had a little bit of fire starting the second half. The girls kept their heads in the game and finished strong.”

Grace Grunseth finished with a 22-point, 10-assist double-double and added five rebounds and three steals. She made seven of 10 shots overall from the field and made eight of nine free throws.

Syryczuk scored a season-high 18 points, led the team with five steals and had four rebounds and two assists. Tatum Weir came up just shy of a doubledouble with 11 points, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots and an assist.

Warner scored six points. Waichulis tied her season high with four points and James scored four points and had two steals, two assists and two rebounds. Emma Grunseth had a bucket, 10 rebounds and two assists. Heavyn Kind and Aryiah Schuh scored 11 points apiece to lead Spencer, while Jorie Meyer added 10. Kind scored nine of her points in the second half and Schuh had seven of her points after halftime.

Loyal 52, Gilman 39

In Thursday’s make-up date of a Jan. 17 postponement, the Pirates ended a three-game stretch against Eastern Cloverbelt contenders at 1-2 with a 52-39 loss at Loyal, who won both regular-season games against Gilman this season.

The Greyhounds won this one in the first half, riding Remi Geiger’s 19 points to a 34-16 halftime lead. Geiger hit a trio of 3-pointers in the half and Bailey Bravener hit two more while scoring eight points for Loyal in the half.

“The Loyal game was rough,” Tammy Weir said. “We got off to a slow start and just couldn’t gain any ground back after getting down by 10.”

Behind eight points apiece from Warner and Grace Grunseth, Gilman outscored the Greyhounds 23-18 in the second half. Grunseth had another game of outstanding shooting, making seven of eight shots from the field on her way to 15 points. She added six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Warner finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.

Emma Grunseth had seven points, including Gilman’s only 3-pointer of the night, and four rebounds. Tatum Weir scored five points and led the team with 11 rebounds.

The Pirates were 17 of 47 overall from the field while Loyal was 20 of 47. The big difference was from 3-point range, where Loyal was seven of 17 and the Pirates made one of nine. Gilman had a big 40-21 edge in rebounds.

Geiger finished with 24 points for the Greyhounds, Bravener had eight and Tylee Brecht scored seven.

“Our turnover numbers (18) weren’t the best, but we were able to force Loyal into 14 turnovers,” Tammy Weir said. “Geiger shot lights out the first half, but we were able to hold her to only five points in the second half, so we did a great job on defense in the half. We just couldn’t catch up.”