By Jared Schmeltzer
On Tuesday night the Merrill boys basketball team played host to the Marshfield Tigers. After a very slow first half for the Jays they came out of halftime with a lot of energy, however were unable to complete the 18 point comeback as they fell 77-70.
In the first half of play the Bluejays struggled to get their shots to fall as they only put up 28 points to Marshfields 46. Zach Mootz led the Bluejays offense in the half, knocking down a pair of three pointers and tallying 10 points. Jared Olhoff scored six points in the half, all coming from inside the arc. Quinn Steckbauer and Chase Bonnell each put up five points in the half with each of them knocking down a three pointer. The big story of the half however was Marshfields Seth Anderson scoring 25 points.
“It was a tale of two halves.” Comments head coach Jake Schalow, continuing to say, “We were a completely different team in the 2nd half than how we played in the first. Against really good teams like Marshfield, you can’t dig yourself into holes early in the game and expect to be able to fight your way out of them, especially 20 plus point deficits.”
The second half was far more competitive for the Bluejays as they would not give up despite the big lead. Merrill was able to put up 42 second half points and hold the Tigers to only 31, however it wasn’t enough with the Bluejays still taking the seven point loss.
Coach Schalow had this to say about his teams performance as of late, “We need to do a better job of playing consistent. Although I was really proud of our fight and heart in the 2nd half, our slow start in the first half has been our M.O. since the new year and it showed again tonight.”
Zach Mootz led the charge for the Bluejay comeback as he continued his solid night scoring 12 points, bringing his total to 22. Mootz also dished out five assists, grabbed two rebounds and a steal on the night. Quinn Steckbauer stepped up in the second half scoring 12 of his own, hitting another three pointer and knocking down three free throws. Steckbauer also had five assists and a rebound in the game. Chase Bonnell and Jared Olhoff each had seven second half points. Olhoff would end the game with 13 points, five rebounds, a block and an assist. Bonnell finished the game with 12 points, shooting 100 percent from the floor, grabbing three rebounds, three steals and picking up an assist.
With this loss the Bluejays now sit at third in the conference behind SPASH and Marshfield. Merrill will travel to Rhinelander on Tuesday for a non conference match up tipping off at 7:15 p.m.