Bluejays take narrow win over SPASH
On Tuesday night the Merrill boys basketball hosted Stevens Point for a conference match up. The Jays would defeat the Panthers in what was a very tight contest, coming out with a 53-51 win.
Merrill would get off to a hot start, outscoring SPASH in the first six minutes by a score of 16-4. The Jays would hold on to their lead for the whole first half, however a late run by the Panthers would make it a one point game heading into halftime, with the Jays leading 25-24. Chase Bonnell was the driving force behind the Merrill offense in the half, scoring 11 points. Michael Casper would finish the half with eight points and Caleb Timm had six.
The second half was tightly contested throughout with neither team building a big lead on the other. Casper would will the Jays to a late game lead, adding 18 more points to his total in the half. With Merrill up by two points and just over a minute left in the game, SPASH would start to foul. Quinn Steckbauer stepped to the free throw line and missed the front end of a one and one, giving SPASH the ball. A missed three pointer from the Panthers gave Merrill control of the ball and Steckbauer would return to the free throw line. Steckbauer would miss again, giving SPASH the final shot of the game. After missing another three-point attempt SPASH would retain possession with one second on the clock and would end up missing the final shot as the Jays held on for the 53-51 win.
Casper led the way for Merrill, scoring 26 points. Bonnell would finish the game with 13 points and Timm would end with 10.
Coming into the game Merrill and SPASH were tied with Marshfield for the top spot in the WVC (Wisconsin Valley Conference), with this win the Jays are now one step closer to a conference title. Merrill will travel to Wausau East on Thursday night for a chance to take home the conference championship, however if Marshfield defeats SPASH the Jays will share those honors with Marshfield.