The Bluejay boys captured back-back games in the past week to improve to 3-2 overall. Merrill handled Wausau East 50-41 on Friday, then backed it up with a 61-50 triumph over Green Bay East on Tuesday.
The Jays shot lights-out against Green Bay, knocking down 74% of their field goals and 50% of their threes. A 9-8 edge became a 24-18 lead by halftime. East cut it to 36-31 in the third, but MHS used a 25-19 fourth to secure the win.
“It was really well-played from start to finish,” MHS coach Kurt Soderberg said. “We executed very well on offense and played good defense. It was a nice step forward for us and just what we needed against a darn good Green Bay East team.”
Chaz Mootz cut loose with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and several other players provided solid lines, including Austin Reissmann (7 p, 3 a), Jake Anderson (8 p), Scott Wallace (5 p, 3 a), Keenan Stellingworth (6 p), Drew Hoff (5 p), Riley Sutton (5 p) and Trey Stevenson (4 r).
“Chaz led us and a number of guys stepped up, Jake, Scottie, Austin again,” Soderberg said. “Riley gave us strong minutes. It was a really good team win. Every guy played actually.”
MHS–FG: 20-27 (74%). 3’s: 2-4 (50%). FT: 19-29 (66%). GBE–FG: 14-38 (37%). 3’s: 6-17 (35%). FT: 16-24 (67%).
The Bluejays jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the home girls/boys doubleheader, and backed it up 30-15 at halftime. East only took a point off the margin in a 9-8 third and the Lumberjacks’ 17-12 fourth-quarter advantage just made it a 50-41 Bluejay victory.
“It was a very good win,” Soderberg said. “We played defense well against Everest and East. Our shooting against East was what we expected it to be.
“We shot 54% from three-point range. The only disappointing thing is we shot 45% from the line. That hurt us. We went from being up by 17 to winning by nine, but I can’t complain too much. Austin shot 5-for-5 from three. That was big. Jake shot well again. Our guys did a nice job.”
East featured athletic 6’ 11” senior Dylan Hamlin, but the Jays limited him to five points. J.P. Lacy (14) was the only Lumberjack in double figures.
“Having a 6’ 8” kid (Jon Gruetzmacher) to match up with a guy like that is big,” Soderberg said. “Keenan did a nice job on him, too. Granted, we played a lot of zone, but inside you’ve got to be communicative and active and Keenan did that. I think our zone gives us a chance to match up with anybody.”
Solid contributions came from: Mootz (12 p, 10 r, 3 as, 2 st); Reissmann (15 p); Anderson (9 p, 6 r); Wallace (3 p, 3 r); Zach Mootz (5 p); Stellingworth (3 p); and Drew Hoff (3 p).
MHS–FG: 17-32 (53%). FT: 9-19 (47%). WE–FG: 13-41 (32%). FT: 9-13 (69%).