On Friday night the Merrill boys basketball team traveled to Stevens Point for their second meeting against the SPASH Panthers. It was a completely different game this time around with both teams focusing more on defense as SPASH took the 51-41 victory.
“I thought the biggest difference from the first game was that both teams made a conscious effort to be better defensively,” coach Schalow said. “Unfortunately for us, we were solid defensively but allowed them to get offensive rebounds for second chance points.”
The first half was pretty good for the Bluejays as they were able to go into halftime holding a four point lead. There wasn’t too much scoring in the half with the Bluejays only scoring 24, however the scoring that was done mostly came from Quinn Steckbauer. Steckbauer led the Jays with nine first half points, knocking down one three pointer along the way. Kordell Renken did his part as he scored five in the half and knocked down a three pointer. Jared Olhoff had four in the half on two layups.
The second half was a different story for Merrill as SPASH brought the pressure defensively only allowing the Jays 17 second half points and the Panthers were able to score 31. Steckbauer led the way in the second half as well, putting up seven more points. Mootz and Bonnell were each able to score only four points in the half.
“SPASH beat us up on the glass,” coach Schalow said. “We allowed them to have multiple possessions with 3-4 shots because of their ability to get offensive rebounds.”
Steckbauer led the Bluejays in scoring with 16 points. He also had five rebounds and three assists on the night. Mootz may not have been himself in the scoring column with only six points, however he was still able to make an impact for the Bluejays grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out three assists. Bonnell would end the game with six points, two assists and a rebound.
The Bluejays will host Wisconsin Rapids on Friday night with tip off at 7:15 p.m.