Gladstone jayvee girls basketball wrap-up: proof is in the record

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone girls’ jayvee and freshman basketball teams enjoyed their share of success this season and have winning records to show for it.

Gladstone’s jayvees posted a 16-3 campaign. The freshmen were 12-4 overall and captured the Great Northern Conference title at 7-1.

“I had the girls all summer and got to know their work ethic,” said jayvee coach Eric Lundin. “Their time and hard work paid dividends throughout the year. I think they bought into our concept, which included intensity, full-court pressure and controlling the tempo.”

The freshmen split with Kingsford in the GNC and fell to three non-conference opponents.

“The girls had a positive attitude,” said freshman coach Katie Poma. “They were open to learning new things and worked real well together. The girls didn’t like losing, but showed great sportsmanship. They never gave up.”

Jayvee leaders were sophomore point guard Anna Carmella and forward Bridget Becker, both of whom averaged 12 points a game. They were followed by freshman forward Ashley Edwardson, who carried a 10-point average.

“Those three demonstrated their commitment to make the team successful during the off-season,” said Lundin. “They came to all the open gyms and their work ethic became infectious.

“We averaged 50 points a game, which is pretty good for a jayvee team. We also forced an average of 30 turnovers a game. From our standpoint, that led to a lot of easy baskets on the other end.”

Helping Gladstone’s inside game were 5-foot-9 sophomore center Carly DeVet and 6-2 freshman center-forward Izzy Matthews.

“Carly had some great mid-range shots and Izzy was probably our most improved player,” said Lundin. “Izzy was also one of our top rebounders. She became more aggressive throughout the season.”

Providing help at guard were sophomores Lauren Parrett and Bailey Greibel and freshman Caitlyn Leisner.

“Lauren was probably our most pure shooter,” said Lundin. “Bailey was a great spot-up jump shooter. Caitlyn is a relentless defender who gave the other teams trouble against our press.

“I think once the girls started to see some of our presses and traps were wearing down teams, they bought into the concept and it carried over into our offense. They were in excellent shape. I think we got smarter relative to foul trouble. I got a chance to see the girls progress mentally and physically. We were a family all year. We did things together on and off the court.”

Lundin says the team’s biggest win took place Feb. 9 at Menominee.

“They (Menominee) were the only team to beat Marquette,” he added. “We couldn’t get Marquette back because they had already beaten us twice, so wanted to beat the team that beat Marquette. That was our third game that week. Plus, we had only eight girls on the team and three fouled out (at Menominee). The girls really wanted that game.”

The Braves avenged one of their losses, topping Kingsford at home 50-34 on Feb. 20. They fell to the Flivvers on the road 61-52 on Dec. 11.

“We finished the season with nine straight wins,” said Lundin. “We’re proud of the way we ended the year.”

The freshmen beat Kingsford 51-33 at home and fell to the Flivvers 39-28 on the road. They were missing two cagers in the first meeting and played without leading scorer and guard Morgan Kowalski in the second contest.

Kowalski carried an 11 1/2-point average. Samantha Sailer, also a guard, had 10 assists in the victory over Kingsford and averaged 8 1/2 points. Maddie Bailey, a 5-9 center, averaged 7.7 points and 7.3 rebounds.

“Morgan and Samantha were excellent leaders and Maddie had a couple double-doubles,” said Poma. “Maddie finished shots and rebounded well.”

Providing help inside were forwards Amanda Belonga and Paige Schwartz, a transfer from Rapid River. Guard Kasey Tryan, despite standing only 5-2, was the team’s leading shot blocker.

“Amanda was probably the biggest motivator on the team,” said Poma. “The stats don’t show what she accomplished. Paige enjoyed rebounding and showed she has the ability to go far. Kasey is an aggressive player who shined on defense.”

Helping Tryan in the backcourt were Jill Thompson, who missed the first three games with a knee injury, Sophie Carlson and Shyanne Willis, a transfer from Mid Peninsula.

“Jill is an excellent passer who made a lot of things happen,” said Poma. “She has great court vision and an excellent drive to the basket. Sophie was our defensive specialist. She’s one of the fastest players I’ve seen. Shyanne became more aggressive and improved during the second half of the season.

Forward Lexi Hunsberger scored her first two points in the home game against Kingsford.

“All the girls were thrilled to see that,” said Poma.