Merrill Boys Basketball Team struggles to land a win

Last four games have been challenging


Merrill at Stevens Point
The Merrill Boys headed to Stevens Point on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, to take on the Panthers, and it was a rough game for Merrill.
“The first time around against SPASH, I really thought we had our chances to win that game; this time around that was not the case,” said Troy Pieper, Head Merrill Boys Basketball Varsity Coach.
“We didn’t bring the 3 E’s [Energy – Effort – Execute], especially on the defensive side of the ball. Lately we have sort of lost our way for long stretches in games with our defense. We will work on this even more than normal going forward,” he said.
“Point didn’t miss much in the first half either, which made the night even tougher,” he added. Ultimately, the Bluejays lost to the Panthers 39-79.
It was “one of those nights where you don’t play well at all and the other team plays at a very high level, and the outcome ends up as it did,” Pieper said, And “you learn from it, but you erase these sort of nights as quickly as possible from your memory at the same time.”
High scorers for the Bluejays this game: Cory Gigl (2 FG, 2 3pt, 2 FT) scored 8 points, Tyson Glisch (3 FG, 1 3pt, 1 stl) scored 7, and Henry Reimann (2 FG, 2 3pt, 1 st) scored 6 points in the game for Merrill.
Box Score
Merrill 39 @ Stevens Point 79

Merrill vs. Marshfield
On Jan. 25, the Merrill Boys Basketball Team faced off against Marshfield. “This we knew would be a difficult week facing the top two teams in the conference,” Pieper said, “but when you add in we were going to be still without a few regulars, it made things even more difficult in this match-up against top-team Marshfield, who is unbeaten in Conference play.”
“I thought we battled,” he said. “It was a lot like the first time we played Marshfield. We played them even for the most part besides a little run at the end of the half and again to start the second half. Tonight was the same thing. We allowed them to go on a 13-3 run to end the half and found ourselves in a deep hole. We need to be more locked in on the defensive side. We show flashes, but it’s getting to the time of the year when those flashes need to become a more regular occurrence.”
“This Marshfield team is so solid,” Pieper added. “They are very patient on offense, they make the extra pass always to find a great shot, and they play very good defense, as well. There is a reason no one has beat them yet.”
In the end, Merrill wasn’t able to beat Marshfield either.
“I thought Troy (Mootz) was very assertive tonight,” Pieper said. “When he is aggressive early, I think it gets him confident and helps his outside game. He played well against a tough defense tonight.” Mootz (4 FG, 3 3pt, 3 FT, 3 ast) scored 14 points for the Bluejays, and Cory Gigl (2 FG, 2 3pt, 1 ast, 1 stl) also scored 6, making them the two high-scorers for Merrill in this battle.
Box Score
Marshfield 78 @ Merrill 47

Merrill at Wausau West
On Jan. 21 the guys were at Wausau West, with the Bluejays facing off against the Warriors.
“I wasn’t sure how the team would respond with it being the first game without Bailey,” Pieper said. “And at first we looked a little off, and unsure. However, I can’t begin to explain how impressed I was with our effort to figure it out and fight back. We were down 22 in the first half, it would have been easy for the guys to just mail it in, but instead we kept fighting and had it within 2 points late in the second half but just ran out of gas. It takes a lot of energy to come back from 22 down, and we had a short bench with 3 regulars unable to play, so it took every bit of our energy to get back in the game. We just didn’t have anything left in the tank.”
On the positive side, “We had a lot of guys step up and give great minutes. In the second half, Tyson Glisch (4 FG, 3 3pt, 1 ast, 1 stl) hit some big three’s to ignite a big run for us. Each game he’s starting to become more and more comfortable at the Varsity level.” Glisch scored 11 points overall for Merrill.
“Cory Gigl (3 FG, 2 3pt, 4 FT) played great,” Pieper said. “He was locked in the entire way on both ends of the floor, his shot confidence is starting to come back into form, and it’s happening at the right time.” Gigl scored 12 points for Merrill.
“Bradyn Pieper (5 FG, 1 3pt, 8 FT, 5 ast) struggled a little in the first half, but he’s starting to show his growth by not allowing it to affect him, and he picked it up in the second half,” Coach said. Pieper was the high scorer for the Bluejays, scoring 19 points in the game.
Box Score
Merrill 55 @ Wausau West 66

A battle of the birds
On Jan. 18 the Merrill Bluejays played the Northland Pines Eagles, and it was a battle of the birds. “It was another night of us getting off to a slow start and finding ourselves in a halftime hole we had to dig out of,” Coach Pieper said.
“We played better at times in the second half and did get back in the game. I think we got it within a one-score game but just couldn’t get a lead,” he said.
“When Bailey Turenne (8 FG, 2 3pt, 4 FT, 7 ast) went down late in the game with an injury, it sort of took the wind out of the gym. It was tough for us from that point on,” Pieper said.
“Before going down, Bailey had another great game – almost another triple double for him,” he said. “He just creates so much for us on both ends of the floor.” Turenne was the second-highest scorer for Merrill, racking up 22 points.
“Bradyn Pieper (9 FG, 3 3pt, 2 FT, 2 ast, 1 stl) had another great game, as well,” Pieper said. “He’s been playing really well lately and led us in scoring tonight. To me the impressive thing tonight, when his outside shot wasn’t falling early, he was aggressive getting to the basket, and that sort of got him going a little.” Pieper led the points for the Bluejays, scoring 23 in the game.
“I also was very impressed with the play of Tyson Glisch (4 FG, 3 3pt, 1 ast) and Troy Mootz (5 FG, 3 3pt, 1 ast),” Coach Pieper said. “They both played really well. Having four guys finish in double figures is great. Now we just need to figure out how to fix our slow starts so these type of games result in wins.” Glisch scored 11 points in the game, and Mootz scored 13.
Box Score
Northland Pines 90 @ Merrill 81

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