M&O Boys BasketballIssue Date: January 18, 2017
Wild Win Leaves Lena One Game Back
The Lena Wildcats entered hostile territory Thursday night as they traveled to Suring to take on the Eagles. Two M&O teams tied for second place with 5-1 records is a recipe for a thrilling matchup, and the teams did not disappoint. Big leads, lead changes, scoring runs, players crashing into the bleachers, bloody eyes, this game had it all.
One way for Lena to battle the tough crowd was to take them out of the game and a good way to do that was get out to a fast start. A fast start was just what Coach Jeff Heimke's squad delivered. Hunter Borchert opened the game up with a layup to get things rolling for the Wildcats. Borchert then delivered a rebound and put-back followed by a big three-pointer. Connor Heise's layup at 12:08 finished off a 12-3 run for Lena to open the game.
Back came the Eagles as Chris Geniesse scored two inside followed quickly by a Ryan Mahoney triple. It was John Christensen's turn as he connected on a layup and a free throw that cut the lead to 14-11. Jacob Staidl ended the 8-0 Suring run with a basket for Lena, but the Eagles weren't finished yet. Mahoney dialed up another triple before cleaning up a missed shot with an offensive board and put-back as Suring took a 17-14 lead. Lena's Dalton Anderson knotted the game at 17-17 with a three, but Mahoney seemingly couldn't be stopped as he drilled another Suring three.
With 1:28 to go in the half, Anderson sank his second triple of the game to grab a 27-25 advantage for the Wildcats. With 54 seconds left, yet another Mahoney three ball took the lead right back. With the clock winding down, Suring's Mitch Stegeman banked in a three at the buzzer as the Eagles took a 31-27 lead into halftime.
"We were pretty confident at halftime, we felt good about how we played defensively. I was pleased with the way we were playing at halftime," said Suring Head Coach Jim Keeffe.
Again, it was a fast start for Lena to begin the second half. Anderson sank one of two at the line, Borchert connected from behind the arc and then scored on a layup to grab a 33-31 lead. At about the 13-minute mark, Lena's Heise picked up his fourth foul of the game, but his coach didn't wait long to put him back into the game, "Yeah that's a senior. I probably wouldn't do that with an underclassman. A senior who's played a ton of basketball in his career. If you're going to put him in in that situation you've got to trust him to be on the court. He stayed in and didn't foul out so I'll keep giving him the nod," said Coach Heimke.
Suring answered right back with a scoring run of their own. Mahoney, you guessed it, buried a three and a free throw and Christensen added a layup and a free throw as the Eagles took the lead back, 38-33. Borchert continued his solid performance with a long jumper before drawing contact on a layup for an and-1, and sank the free throw. Mahoney's sixth triple of the game gave Suring the advantage once again.
The lead was short-lived as Lena answered with a 9-0 run that included a big triple and three-point-play from Heise which opened a 47-41 Wildcat lead with 3:19 remaining. Mercifully for Eagles fans, sharp shooting Mitch Stegeman answered the call with a three from the wing, cutting the lead to 47-44.
With two minutes left, Lena's Borchert made one of the biggest plays of the game. The Lena senior knocked the ball loose on defense, chased it and leaped out of bounds, in mid-air grabbed the ball, turned and tossed a dime to a streaking Heise for an easy layup. This put the Wildcats up 49-44, but Stegeman wasn't finished. Just 17 seconds after the Heise hoop, Stegeman connected on a triple to keep his team alive, 49-47. Heise connected on both of his free throw attempts that pushed the lead back to four, 51-47 with 1:38 on the clock.
Colby Borchert snuck behind the Eagle defense for a layup that extended the lead to 53-47 with 48 seconds on the clock. Yet again, it was a three-ball from Stegeman that kept the Eagles in the game. With 35.2 seconds remaining, Stegeman's three brought the score to 53-50. A missed free throw gave the Eagles the ball back, but they missed and game-tying three and were forced to foul. Lena's Austin Lange went to the charity stripe for a 1-and-1 opportunity to ice the game with 7.8 seconds left. Lange banked in the first shot to give the Wildcats a 54-50 lead before missing the second. Suring secured the rebound, ran up the court and Geniesse drilled a deep three as the clock expired. Lena held on 54-53 in a thriller. The win improves Lena to 6-1 in conference play and keeps them just one game back of Peshtigo, whom they play again later this season.
"My young guys, my sophomores, came in, Mitch Stegeman hit some big threes. The guy has ice water in his veins, he's unflappable. Mitch is going to hit his shots, he's a great shooter," said Coach Keeffe of his sophomore stepping up in key moments.
"If we get a lead late in games we have a lot of seniors and we're pretty guard heavy so I feel pretty comfortable getting through presses late or going to the free throw line. If we can get it under two minutes I usually trust our guys," Coach Heimke said of Lena's play under pressure.
Connor Heise and Ryan Mahoney both scored 22 points in the contest to lead their teams. Hunter Borchert finished with 17 for Lena, and Suring's Mitch Stegeman's four threes were good for 12 points.
"I thought we played well enough, defensively, to win, and that sounds funny because we didn't win. But, we had three bad turnovers, they went on a run and we just didn't have enough time. Thirty more seconds and we probably do it but we can't commit those unforced errors," said Coach Keeffe.
"It was huge for not only conference but also with our regional because these guys (Suring) are in our regional." Coach Heimke added, "We know we have to have to stay one-loss, our guys want a rematch at Peshtigo, they want to take another shot at them, but we talked about it that if we don't take care of business until then, it doesn't mean anything. We will take it one at a time and keep chipping away."
Peshtigo Stays Unbeaten,
Rolls Over Rangers
From start to finish Thursday night, the Peshtigo Bulldogs exerted their dominance over the Wausaukee Rangers. The unbeaten Bulldogs never trailed in the contest on their way to an 88-40 win in Wausaukee.
Justin Thill sank two free throws and connected on a layup to give the Bulldogs an early 4-0 lead. Wausaukee's Cody Renikow responded with a triple. Thill hit another layup and Joey Bradley added three free throws before Max Neumann and Ryley Demmith each hit a layup. Thill dialed up a three to make the score 16-5. Demmith scored on two more layups before Cole Tackmier split his attempts at the charity stripe.
Tony Rollo hit a short jumper for the Rangers, Hayden Renikow drilled both free throw attempts and Matt Delfosse added a layup as they cut the lead to 23-12. Cameron Noffke ended the Ranger run with a three-point play. Rollo hit two more short jumpers, but the Bulldogs responded with layups from Bradley each time.
Tackmier scored on a layup to make the score 38-22, before Demmith cashed in on two steals with layups at the other end. Neumann drilled two free throws just before the half to make the lead at the break 44-22. Peshtigo doubled their score in the second half and cruised to an 88-40 victory.
Demmith led the Bulldogs with 18 points, Thill finished with 16, Bradley scored 14, Noffke added 12 and Matt Larsen pitched in with 10 for Peshtigo.
Cody Renikow's 11 points paced the Ranger offense, Delfosse and Rollo each scored nine, and Hayden Renikow and Noah Zak each chipped in four.
The Coleman Cougar boys took a 65-40 victory over the St. Thomas Aquinas Cavaliers last Thursday evening.
The Cougars built a first half lead that proved to a bit too much for the Cavaliers to overcome, going into the half ahead 30-18.
Coleman's Austin Marquardt was nearly unstoppable at the arc where he drained eight jumpers, securing the evenings top scoring honors with 24 points. Cole Woulf chipped in 16 while Austin Tachick tacked on 14.
STAA was led by Tyler Stuart with 14 points while Jack Farley added 11.
Crivtiz Powers Way
To Win Over Gillett
The Gillett Tigers trailed to Crivitz Thursday night for a M&O conference showdown that saw the Wolverines victorious 74-52.
It was all Wolverines from start to finish in this one. The Tigers found few openings in the Wolverine defense over the first thanks to some good lane control.
Gillett's Logan Krause took to the air early, desperately trying to get some points on the board as he drained two opening half threes.
Travis Giese was tough under the boards and over the first fought his way to 11 points. Kershaw Stumbris chipped in six first half points off two triples.
Giese led the all scorers with 21 points while Stumbris backed him up with 13 points. Shane Bauer posted 10 points.
Krause led the Tigers with 14 points while Dylan Sexton helped out with 11. Grant Sexton got nine.
Badgers for Win
The Oneida Nation Thunderhawks bagged a 75-26 win over the host Niagara Badgers last Thursday.
Crimsen Powless had much to do with the 40-26 lead that the Thunderhawks were able to build over the first, hitting for 12 points.
The second half saw the Thunderhawks' Richard Summers find some openings from outside the arc as he hit on six threes to close the game.
Oneida's Summers took top scoring honors with the exemplary second half performance while Elijah Metoxen followed with 21 points. Powless finished with 14.
Niagara's Ethan Blagec led the Badgers with 21 points while Jacob Bousley chipped in 16.
Niagara's Head Coach Jim Hoogland commented on the Thunderhawks' performance saying, "We were a little rusty and they shot the lights out from the arc. That is the most three's a team has ever made against us."
Florence Takes Down
The Florence Bobcat guys proved to be too much for the Goodman-Pembine Patriots to overcome Monday night as they fell behind 68-46.
The Patriots were led by Noah Suther with 20 points while Drew Morrison, Ethan Metras and Hagan Braaten all chipped in six apiece.
"We came out with a lot of energy," said G/P Head Coach John Swick. "It seemed we were in control during the first half but during the second Florence stepped up the pressure outscoring us 39-13 during the second half. This was a tough loss in conference play since we are trying to move up the board trying to get a favorable seed for regionals."
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