Balanced scoring and a one-man show.
That’s what the Waupaca Comet boys’ basketball team faced in recent losses Appleton Xavier and Winneconne. Xavier handed the Comets a 51-32 defeat Friday, Jan. 28, in Appleton, while Austin Ryf’s 35 points led Winneconne to a 79-42 win Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Xavier 51, Waupaca 32
The Comets stayed within striking distance until the Hawks outscored Waupaca 20-8 in the fourth quarter.
Xavier led 16-4 after one quarter, 24-16 at halftime and 31-24 after three quarters.
Nate Jenson led the Comets with 11 points, while Adam Kaminske finished with eight.
Nate Reynebeau led the Hawks with 13 points, while Nick Sawaski and Nick Pflum scored 11 each.
Winneconne 79, Waupaca 42
Any chance the Comets had of upsetting the Wolves were over by halftime, as Winneconne outscored Waupaca 26-4 in the second quarter to take a 45-17 halftime lead.
Ryf scored 17 points in a row for Winneconne in the first quarter and had 22 by halftime.
Waupaca went into the second quarter down 19-13.
“It was almost like we thought there was a 10-point play out there, that if somebody would shoot the ball quicker or force it in that we were going to get style points,” coach Ron Weber said. “We shot awfully quick. We either had no passes or one pass and the ball was up. We can’t play like that. Maybe (Winneconne) can play that way because they shoot it so well, but we just don’t shoot well.”
Ryf also hit two of his seven three-pointers at the end of the third quarter to give the Wolves a 69-29 lead and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“Guess who my vote for player of the year is going to be?” Weber asked. “You talk about getting in that zone. He was in that zone tonight. It was out of his hand as soon as he caught it and all net. You step out and start guarding the three a little tougher and he’s going to go right past you and either finish at the rim or make the great pass.”
Jenson and Kaminske led Waupaca with 11 and eight points, respectively.
“We really played poorly in the first half,” Weber said. “The combination of them being at such a high level and us playing poorly, it was a knockout punch that we couldn’t recover from. We’re way better than we looked tonight.”
Billy Koeck also finished in double figures for Winneconne with 14 points.
“He’s really an improved player and they need that,” Weber said. “They don’t have a real strong inside game and that has made them a legitimate team to battle Little Chute for that conference championship.”
While the Wolves are in the hunt for an Eastern Valley Conference title, Weber and the Comets are going back to the drawing board.
“I’m giving kids minutes and I’m looking for who’s going to step up and show me,” Weber said. “The starters didn’t do it, so we give the other guys a chance. Those guys don’t do it so you go back to the starters. We seem to have to learn these lessons over and over and over.”
The Comets will host Fox Valley Lutheran at 7:15 tonight (Thursday, Feb. 3) before wrapping up the nonconference schedule at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, in Shawano.