Suring tops Gresham in nonconference matchup

Strong 2nd half not enough for Wildcats
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham Community School freshman Makayla Belongia secures a rebound during Thursday’s 41-30 loss to Suring.

The Gresham girls basketball team doubled its scoring in the second half but came up short against Suring in a nonconference matchup on Thursday at Suring.

The Wildcats scored 10 points in the first half and 21 in the second to solidify a 40-31 loss to the Eagles (4-6). Gresham head coach Vaughn Miller is trying to get his team to start with the same kind of energy they end with.

“There was just no energy in the first half,” Miller said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with the whole season. They just don’t come out to play in the first half. The exact same thing happened against Manawa on Tuesday.

“It takes being down for us to pick it up in the second half. We can’t continue to put ourselves in holes at halftime and then expect to win the game at the end.”

“Gresham gave us a run at the end,” Suring head coach Shaun Wagner said, “but I think what we had established already in the opening 18 minutes made us feel confident that we could end with the win.”

For Miller, the work ethic during games is about more than basketball. That’s what he tries to instill into his players at halftime to amp them up for the final 18 minutes.

“Lately, the messages during halftime have just been about life, really,” he said. “Saying things like, ‘What kind of person do you want to be? The kind that quits when it gets hard, that can’t finish what they start, or do you want to be the person that gives it their best no matter the outcome and learns from failures?’ I just want them to be able to think about these kinds of life lessons and apply them to the game.”

The Wildcats are also readjusting after one of their starters quit earlier this week.

“It’s been a lot of regrouping, but now they’re really understanding that everyone needs to contribute as a team. We don’t need that one player to come out and score 20 points every night, but everyone just needs to come out and do their job.”

Gresham sits at 1-7 and 1-4 in the Central Wisconsin Conference-North, and Miller believes the only way that record is going to change for the better is with a change of mentality at the start of games.

“As long as they’re putting it all out on the court and diving on defense and really getting after the ball, I’m OK with taking losses,” Miller said, “but what I don’t want is us playing teams that are the same level or worse than us, and we’re going out and putting ourselves in double-digit deficits that we can’t come back from in the second half. If the girls can just start playing right away like they do in the second half, we’ll see many positive changes.”

Suring (40)

Jaden Bubolz 0-2 3; Kelsey Smith 2-2 4; Kylee Stelzer 0-1 12; Paige Krueger 1-6 11; Angel Griffin 0-0 3; Wylee VanBellinger 0-0 4; Stephanie Huth 3-5 3.

Gresham (31)

Makayla Belongia 2-4 10; Meckenzie Roe 3-4 5; Tiana Ferguson 2-2 4; Kristen Bowman 0-1 2; Mackenzie Hoffman 0-0 2; Destiny Reindl 2-4 4; Kaylee Bohm 0-0 4.

Suring 22 18 — 40

Gresham 10 21 — 31