West Sioux girls edge Gehlen Catholic on hardwood
LE MARS — Fouls and free throws were the story of Tuesday’s game between the Gehlen Catholic and West Sioux girls basketball teams who both entered the contest with 7-1 records. In the end, the final advantage at the free-throw line went to the Falcons as they came away with a 60-54 victory. While it was free throws late in the game sealing the win, Gehlen Head Coach Brandon Schaecher said his team gave the Falcons too many opportunities there earlier in the game.
“I think the free throw issue was in the first half more than the second half,” Schaecher said. “I will agree, they knocked down some free throws in the second half and we missed a few, but we put them on the free-throw line in the first half and that’s where a lot of their points came in the first half. Otherwise, instead of going into halftime up four, I think we should have been up 10 or 15.”
The Falcons shot from the charity stripe 16 times in the first half compared to 12 times in the second half with most of those attempts coming in the game’s closing minutes.
The two teams combined for 47 fouls with two players from each side exiting the game early with five fouls. Sydney Livermore pulled the Jays back to within three with a bucket-and-one as the team trailed by as many as six in the second half. Unfortunately, Livermore fouled out moments later with just over four minutes left in the game as she finished with 10 points. Kate Hill was the other Gehlen player to foul out and Chloe Bunkers ended with four fouls. For West Sioux, Emma Mace and Meghan Danielson recorded their fifth fouls earlier in the fourth quarter as they left with seven and six points, respectively.
Schaecher said the fouls may have hurt the flow of the game, but he didn’t think it helped one team over the other.
“The reffing is going to be that way different nights and we’ve got to adjust to it,” Schaecher said. “It does take you out of the flow a little bit, but we’ve got to work past that. We’ve got extra ladies off the bench that can come in and play. We had some girls in foul trouble and they had some girls is foul trouble so I think ultimately it equals out.”
Gehlen made a push in the next-to-last minute of the game to pull to within a point. Addison Weber scored her only point of the second half with a free throw. She missed the second out of a timeout, but Melinda Zubrod was there for the rebound and offensive putback. Katelyn Langel scored a layup with just over a minute remaining to make it 55-54, but that was as close as the Jays could get.
West Sioux put the game away at the charity stripe as they ended 19-of-28 for the night compared to the 13-of-25 performance Gehlen mustered. Shady Blankenship made nine of those for the Falcons as she made all but one of her eight attempts in the second half. She finished as the game’s leading scorer with 20 points as she also hit all three of the team’s 3-pointers.
Gehlen led for a good portion of the first half. After trailing 8-5 midway through the first quarter, the team picked up their scoring and took a five point advantage into the second quarter and led 33-29 at halftime. Schaecher said it’s disappointing the Jays lost the game after leading early, but added it can be used as motivation moving forward.
“We can learn a lot from a loss,” Schaecher said. “I saw some upset girls after the game and that’s a good sign. They should be upset. I think that was a game we let go through our fingertips. If we could have pulled out the victory tonight, that would have been huge for our confidence, but a loss isn’t anything bad either. We had a nice talk after the game and hopefully they’ll come ready for the next play. We’ll see how this affects them. They can let it affect them either in a good way or a bad way.”
Addison Weber scored 14 of her team-high 15 points in the first half including knocking down a trio of treys. Schaecher praised the first half effort from Weber.
“In the first half, Addi Weber was on target,” Schaecher said. “She had a great first half. I barely even took her out. She was playing too well plus we had some other girls in foul trouble and I just didn’t want to push anybody into a third so Addi had a lot of minutes. Unfortunately, I think that hurt her a little bit second half. I think she was dragging a little bit second half.”
Katelyn Langel added two more 3-pointers in the first half as the team went quiet from distance in the second half with no makes. Langel finished with 13 points in the game. Lauren Heying also had a nice first half with seven of her eight points before halftime.
The Lady Jays will look to rebound with a game at home against Akron-Westfield on Friday. It will be their first meeting of the year. Last season, the Westerners sent the Jays home from the regional tournament after the teams split the two regular season meetings with the home team victorious in all three.
Gehlen: (Individual) Points- Weber 15, K. Langel 13, Livermore 10, Heying 8, R. Langel 3, Zubrod 2, Bunkers 2, Hill 1; Rebounds- K. Langel 10, Heying 6, Zubrod 6; Assists- Heying 2, K. Langel 2; Steals- Livermore 2, Bunkers 1, K. Langel 1; (Team) FG 19-66, 3ptFG 5-13, FT 13-25, OFF-DEF REB 18-23—41, AST 8, STL 4