Shots won?t drop for MHS
The Bluejays searched for their season’s first win on Friday night, but a cold spurt from the field played directly into a 51-43 home loss and an 0-4 start.
That followed Tuesday’s 56-47 home defeat by Rhinelander.
Merrill actually jumped out to a 13-8 lead on Friday, but the Raiders had knotted it up at 19-19 by halftime and used another five-point edge in the third to make it 34-29. A 17-14 fourth closed it out.
“We didn’t turn it over as much and we were still playing good defense, but we only shot 25%,” MHS coach Kurt Soderberg said. “We’re still looking to play a complete game, playing good defense.
“We had 64 shot attempts and they only had 49. That speaks to our offensive rebounding and giving them fewer chances, but when you shoot that poorly, obviously it’s hard to win.”
Soderberg struggled to pinpoint the shooting woes.
“I wish I knew,” he said. “The guys might be rushing shots. We’re getting open looks. That’s the great mystery of basketball coaching. Sometimes you’re just not hitting.
“It’s concerning that we’re not shooting better. I still think we can shoot a high volume of threes, but we need to make sure the right guys are shooting them. We have to find the answer soon.”
David Jesperson offered 17 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. Other contributions came from: Josh Harris (8 p); Andrew Seaman (5 p, 3 r); Chaz Mootz (3 r, 3 a); Nick Peterson (5 r); Brandon Bartz (4 r); Michael Seaman (4 p); and Nick Mootz (3 r).
Merrill-FG: 16-62 (26%); FT: 7-9 (78%). Wis. Rapids -FG: 20-47 (43%); FT: 8-14 (57%).
The teams were tied 15-15 after a quarter and MHS went up 29-26 by the half. Rhinelander tied it again 37-37 through the 3rd, then won it with a 19-10 4th.
“It was kind of an up-and-down game,” Soderberg said. “I thought we played pretty well defensively, and did a good job on offense in some ways. But we had 25 turnovers and created only 16. The turnover situation cost us.
“Allowing an opponent to shoot in the mid 40’s (percentage-wise) in high school is a problem. Rhinelander shot 52. There’s times when it’s a breakdown, but there’s got to be something there we’ve got to do better.”
Jesperson (21 p, 12 r, 3 st), Paul Theorin (6 p, 5 r), M. Seaman (8 p), Bartz (5 a), and N. Mootz (3 p) paced the Jays.
Merrill-FG: 18-45 (40%); FT: 4-8 (50%). Rhinelander -FG: 22-47 (47%); FT: 9-11 (82%).