Cold to hot Bluejay boys edge out Shawano
A night after frigid shooting doomed the Bluejay boys to a 48-39 loss to Wausau East, they stepped up their game and knocked off Bay Conference leader Shawano on a last-second shot on the road.
“It’s a tough place to play, but we played really well offensively,” MHS coach Kurt Soderberg said. “I can’t tell you how much it means to battle back to beat a very good team after a disappointing loss.
It took execution on both ends of the court to set up Matt Rekowski’s 46-45 game-winner.
“With 20 seconds left, they were up by one and tried a little jump hook on an inbounds play ” Soderberg said. “Jake Anderson blocked the shot and collected the ball. We took time out and set up a play for Nick Peterson, but it didn’t work and he saw Matt open for a pass. Two dribbles later, he got to the rim and finished it off the glass.”
Merrill trailed 16-13 after the first quarter, but despite 4-for-5 three-point shooting for the Hawks, Soderberg wasn’t worried.
“We just stay true to our defense, and hope they play to their percentages over the game,” he said.
Merrill stepped up to a 28-23 halftime lead, with momentum furnished from Brandon Bartz’s steal to lay-up at the buzzer.
Shawano pulled into a 34-34 tie by the end of the third and Merrill used a 12-11 edge in the fourth.
The Jays were paced by Anderson (10 p, 9 r, 2 bl); Chaz Mootz (12 p); Peterson (11 p); Bartz (4 p, 4 r, 3 a); Tucker Diethelm (5 p, 3 r) and Rekowski (4 p).
MHS–FG: 16-30 (53%); FT: 12-16 (75%). SCHS–FG: 15-41 (37%); FT: 8-11 (73%).
Merrill held a 24-18 lead at intermission of Friday’s home co-ed double-header game with East, but was out-scored 17-6 in the third and 13-9 in the fourth.
“Real simply, when you shoot 26% from the field and turn the ball over 17 times you’re not going to win a game,” Soderberg said. “Even when you force 23 turnovers.
“We started the game with eight straight stops and it was 2-2. It should be 16-2. On the positive side, East runs almost all 1-3-1 zone and we found some combinations to force them out of it, but we didn’t finish.”
Offerings came from: Mootz 11 p, 6 r, 4 st); Alex Zettler (7 p, 5 r, 3 st); Anderson (5 p, 6 r); Bartz (3 p, 3 r, 3 a); Peterson (5 p, 3 r); Austin Reissmann (5 p) and Diethelm (3 r).
Merrill–FG: 12-46 (26%); FT: 11-15 (73%). W.E.–FG: 20-48 (42%); FT: 6-12 (50%).
The Bluejays were 7-6 overall and 2-3 in the Valley before visiting Marshfield (8-4, 4-1) on Tuesday. Wis. Rapids (8-6, 3-3) is here Friday.