By Jared Schmeltzer
Tuesday night the Merrill boys basketball team hosted the Lakeland T-Birds. The Bluejays were able to get the win beating Lakeland by a score of 74-63.
The first half was tightly contested with Merrill getting the slight advantage outscoring the T-Birds by four points. “We got off to a slow start to the game” comments Merrill head coach Jake Schalow.
Zach Mootz led the way for the Bluejay offense scoring 16 first half points. Mootz was followed by Chase Bonnell with seven in the half and Quinn Steckbauer with six points. Merrill would go into the half winning by a score of 35-31.
In the second half of play the Bluejays were able to increase their lead, outscoring Lakeland by seven points. Steckbauer added 11 points to his total in the second half, hitting two three pointers and three of his seven free throws to bring his point total to 17. Bonnell was also able to add on to his solid first half with nine more points in the second half bringing his total to 16. Mootz would score four more points in the second half as he led all scorers with 20 points in the game.
Coach Schalow had this to say about how his team was able to pull out a win; “I thought we had two really nice runs that helped separate us, and ultimately win the game.” He continued to say, “Anytime we can get 9 players scoring, we become that much more dangerous, and tougher to guard.”
To go along with his 20 points in the game, Mootz was able to grab six rebounds and dish out nine assists. Steckbauer finished the game with 17 points, four rebounds and two assists, but had an unusual game from the free throw line shooting only three for seven, however he went 2/2 from the three point line and 6/14 from the field. Chase Bonnell finished with 16 points, four assists and two rebounds, shooting 6/8 from the field and knocking down all three of his free throws.