Gran’s 36-point game leads Spartans past JaguarsWESSINGTON SPRINGS — The Wessington Springs boys’ basketball team and Gus Gran needed a bounce-back game.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
WESSINGTON SPRINGS — The Wessington Springs boys’ basketball team and Gus Gran needed a bounce-back game.
Wessington Springs opened its season with a 55-38 loss to Hitchcock-Tulare, and Gran was held to eight points.
The Spartans’ next game did not get any easier, as they faced Corsica/Stickney, the defending champions in Class B.
But Wessington Springs handed the Jaguars their first setback of the season with a 72-58 victory Thursday.
Gran, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, was a big part of the win as he scored 36 points, which surprised even him.
“When the game was over, I was thinking to myself I was around the 20-point range,” he said. “It was a pretty quiet 36 points. I only had one 3-pointer, so that was a lot of layups.”
For his effort, Gran has been named The Daily Republic’s athlete of the week, an award voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
Gran said he was not the only one who had a good game in the win over Corsica/Stickney.
“I just felt everyone was on fire and a couple of other guys stepped up pretty well,” he said. “Everyone was hitting about every shot. I didn’t think I took that many shots, and I was more concentrated on the team score.”
Gran said the team had some high expectations coming into the season. Wessington Springs did not kick the season off right, though, with the loss to Hitchcock-Tulare.
“The first game … was a wake-up call,” Gran said. “This last game was huge, actually. This shows what we can do, and coach said we should be glad of what we did.
“Now we have to build off that win, and hopefully we can keep doing that.”
Gran said the reason the team stumbled in its first game was because it was just that — the first game of the year.
“We had butterflies that first game, I think,” he said. “Everyone was pretty antsy. With it being our first game, you could definitely tell some experience on the year would have helped.
“Plus they had a couple of games under their belt. Now that the jitters are gone, we are getting back to where we should be.”
Gran will be an important part of how well the team does for the rest of the season.
“Gus is an important part of our team,” Wessington Springs coach Ray Ginsbach said. “We have a couple quality scorers, but Gus is our best, well-rounded scorer. He is definitely capable of scoring in the upper teens-to-low 20s every night.”
One of the reasons Gran is so effective offensively is because he is so good at scoring on the break.
“A big part of Gus’ game is scoring in transition, and he did a good job (against Corsica/Stickney) of getting out in front of the pass, and also a good job of leading the break,” Ginsbach said.
Even though he was able to score 36 points, Gran said he never plans to score that many points in a game.
“It’s kind of something that sort of just happens, and it worked out that way Thursday,” he said. “I was on fire, I guess. No one really shoots for 30-something points.
“There are five guys on the court, and they all contribute.”