In the wake of being handed their fifth consecutive loss Tuesday night at D.C. Everest, the Merrill boys answered the call Tuesday night with a ferocious second-half performance to top Wausau East 59-55 on their home court.
The Lumberjacks came out of the blocks axes swinging with a 25-point first period performance and taking a 25-21 lead at intermission. Down but far from out, the guys came out in the second with a 38-point counter offensive to seal the deal.
Junior Zach Mootz paced the Jays with 18 points on the night. Quinn Steckbauer drained 14 while Chase Bonnell added another 13.
“I thought that we finally pieced together a full game from start to finish,” comments head coach jake Schalow.
“It has been something that we have talked about from the beginning of the year: being solid on both ends of the floor and putting a complete game
together. I am very proud of our players for continuing to believe and put in extra time even when we were having a rough stretch.”
WSE: 20 24-44
MRL: 27 29-56
Slippery slope at Everest
Friday night, the Bluejay boys hit the road for Schofield, resuming conference action in a bout with D.C. Everest.
The Evergreens jumped out to an early single-point lead in the first in the wake of a 32-point effort, then capitalized with another 43 in the second to send the Jays packing with a 75-69 loss.
Despite some defensive woes, Junior guard Zach Mootz enjoyed a career night with a stunning 26 point performance (7/14 FG, 12/17 FT, 5r, 5a, 3st).
Quinn Steckbauer piled on another 17 points (5/10 FG, 3/5 3pt, 4/6 FT, 2r, 5a, st) while Jared Ollhoff poured on some extra sauce with a solid 11 point effort (5/7 FG, 1/1 3pt, 7r, st).
“We needed to do a better job on the defensive end than what we did tonight,” comments head coach Jake Schalow. “Its frustrating because we put together a really nice defensive game against Rhinelander but our offense sputtered. Tonight we get a great offensive flow and now we did not defend the way we have been.
“We need to put together a complete game both offensively and defensively,” Schalow added. “Tonight was very uncharacteristic of ourselves, missing 12 freethrows and three of those were front end of 1 and 1 bonus. That also hurt our chances while we were fighting to get back in it.”
MHS: 31 38-69
DCE: 32 43-75