G-E-T falls to West Salem

Alexa Hammond of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau took a shot in the lane during the Red Hawks' 57-43 loss to West Salem last week Tuesday. (Times photograph by Zac Bellman)

A late-season slide continued last week for the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau girls basketball team as they fell in their fifth-consecutive game last week.

The fast-break attack of West Salem had the Red Hawks on their heels for most of the game as the Panthers finished the sweep of the season series last Tuesday.

G-E-T fell to 8-12 overall, as well as 4-6 in the Coulee Conference. Their final two scheduled games of the regular season are also in the conference, as they traveled to Arcadia on Tuesday and make the trip to Black River Falls on Friday for their season finale.

The Red Hawks also received a sixth seed in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division Three playoffs in Sunday night’s seeding announcements, matching them up at home with 11th-seeded Mauston next Tuesday. The winner travels to third-seeded West Salem on Friday.

West Salem 57 G-E-T 43

G-E-T held a 13-7 lead thanks to nine early points from Cassy Schmitz, but West Salem came back to tie the game at 17 just past the midway point in the half. 

Aly Gilster’s three-pointer to close a 17-14 deficit was part of what would be a 12-0 run for the Panthers, as the Red Hawk defense began to surrender transition buckets as fatigue set in late.

“We knew that transition offense is something that they have exploited us with, and has kind of been their M.O. most of the year, so we really tried to counteract that by going full-court (press) and try to slow down some transition buckets and transition threes,” G-E-T head coach Louis Hurd said. “I thought we did fairly well for the most part, we didn’t cause a lot of turnovers in the press, but felt like we got to play them in the half-court more than we did the last time.”

An Alexa Hammond three and an Alivia Beaman layup got G-E-T back within a 26-22 hole, but West Salem closed the final two minutes by pushing things back out to 34-22. Ella Jordan led the Panthers for the half, scoring 14 of her 22 for the evening in the opening half.

The team speed for West Salem set a pace the Red Hawks could do little to contend with early in the second half as well. By the 11-minute mark in the second half, West Salem led 49-30 and would not look back. For the game, the Panthers tallied 23 points in transition while making the most of 26 Red Hawk turnovers. On G-E-T’s end, they tallied six points in transition while managing 14 defensive turnovers. 

Leading the Red Hawks were Cassy Schmitz’s 15 points, followed by Lindsey Lettner’s nine, Beaman’s seven, five each from Hammond and Jada Helmers and two from Genna O’Neill. Lettner and Hammond tallied four assists each, and Beaman led the team in rebounds with eight. 

With the Coulee title out of reach, Hurd said after last Tuesday’s game that the Red Hawks are focusing on getting better each day for a potential postseason run. 

“This time of the year, it is very easy to let your guard down, it’s very easy to slack off in practice or make things a little more light-hearted,” Hurd said. “I’m still going to be pushing them to get better every day.”

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