WYNOT – The West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic Bluejays girls’ basketball team overcame a rough first quarter and completed a 14-point opening frame deficit to defeat Wynot here on the Blue Devils’ home court Thursday night, 48-39.
“We had a hard time keeping up with their speed and athleticism in the beginning of the game,” GACC coach Jerry Stracke said. “We had to match what they were doing and we made some adjustments which gave us a chance to get back in the game.”
Those adjustments included backing off defensively and relying on a swarming half-court defensive effort which helped turn the tide.
“We just decided to keep in front of them and not let their quickness beat us in the backcourt,” Stracke said. “It was easier to defend them and stay with them when we cut down what we had to cover.”
The Blue Devils appeared to have the game well in hand from the opening tip.
Katelyn Heine fired in a three-pointer with 6:22 left in the first frame to give Wynot a 3-0 lead.
After Brandi Doerneman hit Brenna Rief inside, Rief led all scorers with 17 points to make it 3-2, the Blue Devils would go on a 15-2 run to finish the period.
“We started the game like we wanted to,” Wynot coach Steve Wieseler said. “GACC got more aggressive in the second quarter and we kind of broke down mentally on both offense and defense.”
Heine splashed another three later in the first to make it 12-4 then Emersyn Sudbeck grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to push the Blue Devil lead to double digits.
Shaelee Planer hit from beyond the arc to make it 17-4 with 1:28 left before then made one-of-two free tosses to end the stanza with Wynot ahead by the 18-4 score.
Marissa Hunke started the Bluejay comeback right away in the second quarter,
Hunke nailed a three just 26 seconds in the period before Rief hit Sophia Hass driving to the bucket to make it 18-9.
Livia Hunke hit a longball with 6:14 left causing Wieseler to call a timeout.
Rief hit a three after the timeout and GACC was within three, 18-15 after an 11-0 run.
“I was really proud of the way we kept playing hard and adjusted when we needed,” Stracke said. “It’s what we need to do to get better and will be necessary down the road.”
The lead got down to a single basket after Marissa Hunke converted a traditional three-point play with 4:23 left before the intermission, but Wynot held the Bluejays at arm’s length, leading 23-18 after an offensive rebound and put back by Sudbeck.
“We did a good job holding them off after they came back,” Wieseler said. “We will learn from this and get better – it’s why you play great teams like them.”
Guardian Angels tied the score 30 seconds into the final period then took its first lead with 3:38 left in the contest when a pair of Hass free throws made it 31-29.
The Bluejay advantage would grow to 38-29 on another Hass charity toss, a three from Marissa Hunke and a conventional three-point play by Rief.
“This was a very good game for us early in the season,” Stracke said. “We had to play a full game – they extended us and we were tired – but we fought through it and came away with a win against a very good team.”
GACC 4 17 14 13 – 48
WYNOT 18 5 6 10 – 39
WEST POINT GUARDIAN ANGELS CENTRAL CATHOLIC (3-1): Sophia Hass 3 6-7 13; Livia Hunke 2 0-0 5; Marissa Hunke 3 2-3 10; Kate Gnad 0 1-3 1; Brenna Rief 4 8-15 17; 1 0-0 2.
WYNOT (2-1): Shaelee Planer 3 1-2 8; Katelyn Heine 3 0-0 9; Emersyn Sudbeck 2 0-0 4; Autumn Laawson 1 0-0 3; Michaela Lange 2 3-4 7; Karley Heimes 1 0-0 2; Whitney Hochstein 2 2-4 6.