Merrill Boys Basketball: Away three games in row, winning 2 out of 3 ain’t bad
TINA L. SCOTT
On Saturday, Jan. 30, the Merrill Boys Basketball Team headed to Eagle River for a game against the Northland Pines. The Bluejays battled the Eagles and came out with a win, beating the Eagles by 12 points in the end. “Our energy for the most part was much better, it was an entertaining game, it was a fun atmosphere, and Pines battled us all night,” Coach Troy Pieper said. “In the end, our execution down the stretch and our free throw shooting was just too much for them to handle. I think we finished the game down the stretch shooting 12-14 from the line.”
While Nathan Woller (8 FG, 3 3pt, 9 FT, 4 ast) put up an impressive 28 points, Isaac Sutton (5 FG, 1 3 pt, 11 FT, 3 ast, 1 stl) put up 22 points that couldn’t be ignored, and Bailey Turenne (4 FG, 1 3pt. 5 FT, 2 ast, 3 stl) stood out from the crowd with his 14 point contribution. “We had a lot of good contributions tonight, both from the scoring side of things and just overall play doing the little things,” Pieper said.
“I thought Bailey played great tonight,” he added. “They couldn’t guard him when he was in the post, and his work on the boards on both ends was simply awesome. He finished with 14 points and 12 boards – that’s getting it done.”
“Isaac Sutton and Nate Woller were very impressive scoring it tonight,” Pieper said. “They couldn’t match Isaac’s speed, and Nate was scoring at will off the dribble, and he shot it well from the outside, as well. They were both very efficient and shot it well.”
“It was nice to get a good solid win against a very gritty team,” he added. “Now we can try to continue to stay on track Monday night at home vs Shawano.”
Merrill 76 @
Northland Pines 64
Friday night, Jan. 29, found the Merrill Bluejay Boys Basketball Team at DC Everest. “At times we played with the energy and executed well,” Coach Pieper said, “However, we just didn’t match their energy the whole time, and they like to get out and go. We made a focus to all week, to get back on defense and force them to play in the half court, and they just got too many easy layups in transition tonight.”
Trent Lokeomoen (7 FG, 3 FT, 1 ast) put up 17 points in the game, while Bailey Turenne (7 FG, 2 3pt, 1 ast, 1 stl) and Isaac Sutton (6 FG, 4 FT, 5 ast, 5 stl) each put up a healthy 16 points, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
“They are a tough team with the style they play,” Pieper said. “We still have one chance at home against them, and the guys are looking forward to getting another shot at them.”
“We didn’t shoot it well tonight either,” he said. “Some of that is because they had us playing a little too fast, and part of it shots just weren’t falling. We are a better shooting team than 3-19 from 3pt range.”
“I thought Timmy Handlin gave us really good energy off the bench tonight,” Coach Pieper added. “I think he’s starting to get a little more healthy, and his effort was solid tonight. I think in the +/- column he was our only + for the night, so that says a lot, when you play significant minutes and you lose by 20; it shows we played our best when he was on the floor.”
Merrill 60 @
DC Everest 80
The Friday night before, Jan. 22, Merrill guys were on the road again to Wisconsin Rapids to shoot hoops against Wisconsin Rapids-Lincoln.
“We played with high energy all night,” Coach Pieper said. “It was one of our more complete games from the defensive side of things.”
“We had some hiccups on offense at times,” he continued. “But for the most part, we were able to get the shots we wanted when we took care of the ball and showed some patience. I thought we handled their zone press very well.”
“Nate (Woller) had another great game; you can tell he’s getting healthy, and his explosiveness is really coming back,” Coach said. “They had a really tough time guarding him.”
Indeed Woller (11 FG, 3 3pt, 3 FT, 3 ast, 1 stl) was on fire, putting up 28 points this game. Isaac Sutton (4 FG, 1 3pt, 3 FT, 3 ast, 3 stl) gained the team 12 points, and Bailey Turenne (3 FG, 2 3pt, 2 FT, 3 ast, 1 stl) put up a solid 10 points.
“We have won 3 in a row in conference now, and got ourselves right back in the conference picture now, just one game back with 5 to play,” Pieper said. “We control our own destiny right now, so we just need to stay locked in and keep improving each and every day, and take it one game at a time. Our goals are still within in reach, and the guys are working hard each day to improve.”
Merrill 67 @
Wisconsin Rapids-Lincoln 57