By Jared Schmeltzer
On Wednesday night the Merrill boys basketball team would finish their regular season with a home game against Mosinee for the Bluejays senior night. It was a tightly contested game, but the Bluejays were able to pull away at the end to get the 71-65 win.
“First, I was really happy just being able to get this game in due to all the school cancellations and weather problems.” Comments Merrill head coach Jake Schalow. “I think it is really important that we honor our seniors for the commitment and work that they have put into the program.”
The first half was very competitive with the score being all even at 33 going into the break. Merrill spread the ball around very nicely in the first half with eight different players getting in the scoring column. Zach Mootz led the team in scoring for the first half with eight points, six of which coming from the deep as he hit two three pointers. Quinn Steckbauer hit one three on his way to seven first half points, and Tyler Baade was able to knock down a pair of threes to score six in the half.
The Bluejays were able to get themselves a lead in the second half, and coach Schalow points to their defensive effort as a big reason why saying, “I was proud of our effort especially defensively in the 2nd half, we got some stops which lead to some transition baskets and that helped get us going.”
Merrill outscored the Indians 38-32 in the second half on their way to a six point victory. Michael Casper led the Jays in second half scoring, putting up nine points, hitting two three pointers and three free throws. Mootz kept his solid game going as he matched his first half point total with eight more in the second. Steckbauer was also able to score eight second half points, six of which coming from free throws. Chase Bonnell also did his part putting up seven second half points.
Zach Mootz would finish the game with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Quinn Steckbauer ended his night with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Michael Casper had 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist. Chase Bonnell would end up with nine points to go with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Bluejays begin their playoff run on Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m. as Merrill will host the winner of Tuesdays match up of Hortonville and Antigo.