Red-hot offenses send Gilman to defeat in last two games
WIAA DIV. 5 BOYS BASKETBALL
AND SAM WEBER
STAR NEWS REPORTER
The Gilman Pirates’ recent run of three wins in four games was fueled by much-improved man-to-man defense. Unfortunately, their last two opponents of the season solved that defense and then some.
Gilman’s year ended Tuesday in a WIAA Division 5 regional quarterfinal with a 97-66 loss at Turtle Lake, the fourth seed on the McDonelI Central side of the Superior sectional. The 13th-seeded Pirates knew going in they were facing a solid offensive team. But the Lakers (17-5) shot even better than expected and advanced to a regional semifinal against fifth-seeded Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran (16-5), a 58-45 winner over 12thseeded Owen-Withee Tuesday.
Top-seeded Thorp (17-5) and ninthseeded Prentice (11-12) will meet in Friday’s other regional semifinal.
Gilman’s season ends at 6-17.
“I knew Turtle Lake was a good shooting team,” Gilman head coach Wade Hendricks said. “They hit 15 3-pointers. We didn’t do well getting out on shooters in man, and gave up too many open, rhythm 3s. We went to our 1-3-1 to try and switch it up after half and they came out four of four from three on the first four possessions of the second half.”
After Tuesday’s success, Turtle Lake now averages nine made 3s per game in 22 contests this season.
Gilman got a huge offensive night from junior Andrew Hecker, who dumped in 39 points, and senior Blake Wisocky continued his strong finish to the season with 14, but wasn’t enough to keep up with the Lakers’ scoring barrage. Senior Ethan Grunseth finished with four points, Isaac Wininger sank two free throws and Branden Ustianowski added a bucket.
Turtle Lake shot a blistering 61.5% overall from the field by making 40 of 65 shots. The Lakers were 15 of 29 from 3-point range. Casey Kahl, a 6-2 senior guard, actually did most of his damage inside the 3-point arc. He made 12 of 16 shots overall, including 10 of 12 twopointers to lead Turtle Lake with 26 points. Senior guard Lucas Torgerson was eight of 11 from the field overall and tallied 19 points.
Blake Thill was the Lakers’ top 3-point shooter, making five of seven as he scored 17 points. Brendan Stenke, the team’s leading scorer coming in, was three of eight from downtown and scored 11 points.
“It was nice to see us get on a nice run there in February and show what we could do,” Hendricks said. “We will definitely miss the seniors (Wisocky, Grunseth and Jordan Goebel). Their leadership, help with the youth, their reliability and passion will be missed. We will continue to grow as a team and hit the skills hard. We still have plenty of areas to improve, but I think the future is trending up for boys basketball at Gilman.”
Thunder 87, Gilman 47
The Pirates ended their regular season with an 87-47 home loss to the Osseo-Fairchild Thunder Thursday in the seventh-place game of the Cloverbelt Conference crossovers.
Gilman simply could not stop the Thunder’s 6-2 senior Ryan Myhers who went off for 44 points. Garrett Koxlien added 20 as Osseo-Fairchild broke a four-game losing streak. Osseo-Fairchild’s season ended Tuesday in a 75-69 loss to La Crosse Aquinas in a WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal.
Mhyers scored 26 of his points in the first half, while Koxlien added 11. Hecker and Grunseth did their best to try to keep Gilman in it. Hecker scored 13 points in the half on five field goals and two free throws and Grunseth hit four shots, including a 3-pointer, to score nine.
But the Thunder led 48-26 at the break and continued to extend their lead in the second half as Myhers scored 18 more points. He finished with six of Osseo-Fairchild’s eight 3-pointers.
Hecker added 12 more points in the second half to lead Gilman with 25. Grunseth finished with 11, Wisocky scored six, Grant McFadden hit a second-half 3-pointer and Brayden Boie made a second-half bucket.
The Western Cloverbelt won six of the eight crossover matchups, but East champion Neillsville won the title game Saturday, beating Altoona 85-80.