By Brandon Enroth
There was a playoff atmosphere at Gibraltar High School on Monday night when the Wolves and the Vikings went to battle in front of a packed gymnasium. The blue and yellow faithful showed up in huge numbers to attend the home opener for the Vikings, and they were rewarded with a 58-54 overtime win. Head Coach Josh Kropuenske reflects on how big this win was for his team.
The pace was different for the Vikings on offense, and the confidence level was obvious on defense. Payton Pluff and Sheridan Ash led the Vikings on an offense attack which originally started on the perimeter with guards Hannah Helm, Abigail Sitte, and Raina Haleen driving left or right off the dribble to immediately find Pluff or Ash posted up in the paint. The 6’1 and 5’11 forwards scored huge points down the stretch, providing leadership that according to Kropuenske, the rest of the team fed off of.
Algoma held the lead for most of the 2nd half, until the clock showed with 5:00 remaining. From then on it was a back and forth battle filled with turnovers, confusion, and crucial officiating calls that had coaches, benches, and fan bases that much more engaged in the contest. The key turning point in overtime was a loose ball foul called against Algoma’s Courtney Guilette when she fouled Peyton Pluff. Pluff headed to the free-throw line with her team only leading by three. She made one out of the two free-throws, which gave Gibraltar a four-point lead and the defense held strong to earn them the victory.
Gibraltar moves to (1-2) and prepares to play again on Friday, December 2nd against Green Bay New Lutheran. After suffering their first in-conference loss in over 50 regular season games, Algoma moves to (1-2) and will face Valders at home this coming Saturday, November 26th.