Road to Ashland rewarded with win
The Merrill boys basketball team got back that winning feeling after a long bus ride on Saturday.
The Bluejays improved to 5-4 on the season, breaking a two-game slip with a 58-46 triumph at Ashland.
“I was pleased with the way we played after 2-1/2 hours on a bus,” MHS coach Kurt Soderberg said. “I expected us to play well and we did. We played a with a lot of energy. A lot of guys contributed; everybody played. It was a good team win.”
The Bluejays jumped ahead 16-10 in the first quarter and opened it up in the second.
“We streched the lead to 14 in the first half and then gave up back-to-back threes that cut into it,” Soderberg said. “We had a really good third quarter. We decided to post up Chaz (Mootz) and get the ball inside to Keenan (Stellingworth), who had a really good game.
“We got them in foul trouble and rode that. We didn’t shoot free throws particularly well, but did enough to take control. It was never really in doubt. Our kids played really good defense. Ashland had six threes in the first half for way more than half their points. They were contested shots.”
The Oredockers cut it to 32-27 by halftime, but Merrill surged back ahead with 12-10 and 14-9 quarters.
The Jays were paced by Mootz (26 p, 10 r, 3 a), Stellingworth (16 p, 8 r, 2 a), Jake Anderson (7 r, 2 a), Austin Reissmann (4 p, 2 st), Scott Wallace (4 p, 2 a), Trey Stevenson (4 p), Drew Hoff (3 st) and Adam Messerschmidt (2 st).
“Chaz continues to lead us,” Soderberg said. “He, Jake and Keenan were very active on the glass.”
MHS–FG: 20-42 (48%). FT: 15-27 (57%). Ash–FG: 16-42 (38%). FT: 8-8 (100%).