Pirates put it all together to beat Columbus Catholic
GILMAN BOYS BASKETBALL
Andrew Hecker set a new personal scoring record with 39 points and the Gilman Pirates did the job defensively and with handling the basketball while making a little piece of history Thursday in a 68-64 win over Columbus Catholic.
Since joining the Eastern Cloverbelt in the 2010-11 season, Gilman teams had gone winless against the Dons, who have been a staple in the upper half of the league standings in the last decade.
The first win over Columbus Catholic didn’t come easily, and it took as many contributors as the host Pirates could get.
Hecker, of course, was the headliner as he surpassed his previous high of 30 points set two nights earlier in a win over Granton. He pumped in 19 of those points in the first half as Gilman nudged out to a 36-33 lead. Then he added 20 more in the second half. Only two of his 15 field goals were 3-pointers as he did most of his damage inside the lane against the Dons, who have typically been a guard-oriented squad.
“Most of his points were just being more physical than them, either on the drive or on the offensive glass,” Gilman head coach Wade Hendricks said.
Fresh of his six 3-pointers in the win over Granton, senior Blake Wisocky hit two more 3s and hit five shots overall to score 13 key points. Sophomore post Zack Marion set a season-high with his nine points. He had seven of those points in the first half. “Blake also hit a pair of threes, and Zack really played big in a big game as a sophomore,” Hendricks said. “Zack protected the paint and pulled down some big rebounds and put them back in.” Ethan Grunseth added three points, while Isaac Wininger and Grant McFadden added two apiece. “Grant only had two points, but they were a big two free throws with the game on the line,” Hendricks said.
Columbus Catholic made 24 of 65 shots from the field, but they were an icy eight of 31 from 3-point range. Outside shooting has always been a big part of the Dons’ game. The Pirates took advantage on a night Columbus wasn’t hitting.
“We held Tom Nystrom to only 3 points,” Hendricks said. “Nystrom shots 40-plus on 3-point percentage I believe. We went to man-to-man the whole game, and Blake did a great job staying on him.”
On the flip side, Hendricks said Gilman’s ability to execute offensively and limit turnovers was huge.
“We were good against the pressure defense of Columbus and even got them out of their patented 2-3 matchup zone,” he said. “That definitely helped us out because it forced them to try and man up on Andrew. Andrew was really drawing a lot of attention.”
Eden Jacobson scored 22 points for Columbus, while Jadon Nienast added 20. No one else had more than seven.
O-W 47, Gilman 32
The Pirates’ modest win streak ended at two Tuesday night with a 47-32 road loss at Owen-Withee. The result puts Gilman at 4-10 in league play and 5-15 overall.
Hecker scored 25 points, but it was a night where Gilman couldn’t get shots to drop. The Pirates also played a bit short-handed.
“Grant was sick, so we really only had five guys,” Hendricks said. “Brayden Boie filled in admirably for only having a couple practices in and playing in his first varsity game. We really struggled shooting. We only had one shot made outside of the paint. We just could not hit anything. Defensively we were pretty sound, only allowing 16 points in the first half. But us only scoring 13 was not ideal.”
Hecker scored eight of his points in the first half and had 17 of Gilman’s 19 points in the second half.
Owen-Withee (3-11, 4-15) picked up its offensive pace in the second half, scoring 31 points to pull away. Aaron Ovyn led the charge, scoring eight of his 12 points after halftime. Tyler Weaver and Caleb Geldernick scored eight points apiece for Owen-Withee.
Wininger scored three points for Gilman while Grunseth and Wisocky scored two apiece.
The Pirates will wrap up Eastern Cloverbelt Conference play Monday when they host a solid Greenwood squad at 7:15 p.m. They will host a Cloverbelt Conference crossover to finish the regular season on Feb. 27, also at 7:15 p.m.
Over the weekend, Gilman will learn where it will be seeded for the WIAA Division 5 tournament, which starts on March 3.