Gillum drives Plainville to state win
By AUSTIN COLBERT
MANHATTAN -- When neither team makes more than a third of its shots, as was the case on Thursday between Plainville High School and Meade High School in the Class 2A state quarterfinals, it leaves plenty of opportunities for rebounds.
And when it comes to rebounding, not many do it better than Plainville senior Hadley Gillum.
"He's one of, if not the best, players in Class 2A, and he makes that team much, much better," Meade boys' basketball coach Austin Lewis said. "With the rebounds, where it really killed us is the offensive glass. He is just a matchup problem. We haven't seen a big guy like that that can shoot it. The guy like that that can shoot it is usually our Morgan Davis."
Led by Gillum's do-it-all performance, third-seeded Plainville (22-2) held off sixth seed Meade, 46-41, at Bramlage Coliseum on Thursday. It was the first state tournament win for Plainville since 1984 and its first state tournament game since last qualifying in 1994.
Gillum, who entered the game averaging 22 points and 15 rebounds a night, finished with 20 and 23, including eight offensive rebounds, to go with six blocked shots in Plainville's historic win.
"We came out first and they were calling our names, and our crowd was just going crazy," Gillum said. "They wanted it just as bad as everyone on the floor did. We wanted to get it for them and for the whole town and just prove to the rest of the state that we can play ball this year."
Meade (20-4) had played in the previous two Class 2A state championship games, losing both times.
The key for Plainville to keep Meade from advancing to a third consecutive semifinal was stopping, or at least slowing, Davis, Meade's 6-foot-4 senior forward who entered Friday's contest averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds a game.
And that task was left primarily in the hands of Plainville junior Brent Gehring.
"Morgan Davis is a phenomenal scorer ... I don't know how many points Brent gave up on him, but it was under half of his (points)," Plainville's first-year coach Chris Drees said. "Brent only ended with four points tonight, but we'll take the win and the phenomenal defense over that."
Davis still finished with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds, but couldn't do enough to overcome the performance of Gillum, who is a close friend and former AAU teammate.
Despite a big night for each team's big men, points were hard to come by on both ends of the court.
Plainville opened up a 23-11 lead midway through the second quarter, but Meade finished the half on an 8-0 run and trailed 23-19 at halftime. The Cardinals' scoreless drought had just gone over the seven minute mark before a basket by Chase Meitler nearly three minutes into the second half.
Meade senior Jett Little answered a couple of possessions later with his and-one play to give the Buffaloes a 26-25 lead midway through the third, their first lead since 4-2.
The lead lasted all of 10 seconds, as Plainville's Logan Frederking took the ball right back down the court for his own basket and a 27-26 Cardinal lead.
"It seemed like Plainville had an answer for each one of them (momentum plays) .... we just couldn't get to the point where we could get over the hump," Lewis said. "This was our lowest point total of the season. And you can't blame it on anything. They played great defense."
Plainville never trailed after Meade's brief lead, but the Cardinals couldn't get any breathing room, either. The Buffaloes cut the Plainville lead to one possession on numerous occasions, including at the 1:03 mark of the fourth quarter, when a 3-pointer by Aaron Gleason made it 44-41.
Meade couldn't get anything to fall after that, however, and Gillum iced the game by hitting a pair of free throws with 25 seconds to play.
"It's big for my program because it validates everything we are doing," Drees said. "These kids deserve to go. I've been so close so many times and so have they. It's just nice that they get rewarded. It's not about me, it's about them, and it's about the great crowd we had tonight."
The Cardinals will play seven seed Pittsburg-St. Marys Colgan (19-4) today at 8:15 p.m. in the 2A semifinals. SMC is coming off a 60-57 upset of second seed Valley Falls, which lost for only the second time this season.
Plainville 46, Meade 41
Morgan Davis 7-17 0-0 16, Jett Little 4-15 1-1 10, Larrabee 2-3 0-0 6, Friesen 2-3 0-0 4, Gleason 1-3 0-0 3, Olvera 1-6 0-0 2, Lewis-Dierking 0-4 0-0 0, Bird 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-53 1-1 41.
Hadley Gillum 6-19 6-7 20, Kolt Newell 4-10 0-1 10, Meitler 2-5 0-0 4, Gehring 2-4 0-1 4, Friend 1-5 1-2 3, Dewey 1-6 1-1 3, Frederking 1-8 0-1 2. Totals 17-57 8-13 46.
Meade 9 10 11 11 — 41
Plainville 15 8 13 10 — 46
3-point goals — Meade 6-19 (Davis 2-6, Larrabee 2-2, Little 1-6, Gleason 1-2, Bird 0-2, Olvera 0-1), Plainville 4-18 (Gillum 2-4, Newell 2-5, Frederking 0-5, Meitler 0-1, Gehring 0-1, Friend 0-2). Rebounds — Meade 32 (Lewis-Dierking 9), Plainville 49 (Gillum 23). Turnovers — Meade 8, Plainville 12. Fouls — Meade 15, Plainville 11. Fouled out — none.