Two struggling boys’ basketball teams teamed up for what turned out to be an exciting game.
Waupaca handed Clintonville a 51-48 defeat Tuesday, Feb. 22, and also fell at Freedom Friday, Feb. 25.
Waupaca 51, Clintonville 48
WAUPACA – The Comets picked up their second Eastern Valley Conference win despite scoring only seven points in the fourth quarter.
Clintonville took a 12-8 lead into the second quarter and led 31-24 at halftime.
“Clintonville really came out strong and played well,” coach Ron Weber said. “Some kids that normally don’t shoot that well were hitting some shots early and I thought we were a little flat, which is surprising on the last home game of the year and Parents’ Night. You expect the guys to really come out and make all the hustle plays.”
Adam Kaminske scored 11 points in the Comets’ 14-4 run to start the third quarter that turned a seven-point deficit into a 40-37 lead.
“We had a number of things to clean up and get better at,” Weber said. “We turned it over against the press, we weren’t getting the shot selection we wanted, we weren’t hustling as much. The kids really listened and did a nice job. Then we got that nice momentum build in the third quarter that really did the job for us.”
Waupaca ended up outscoring the Truckers 20-9 in the quarter and took a 44-40 lead into the fourth period.
Clintonville cut the lead to 50-48 late in the game and could have tied it at the buzzer, but Patrick VanDaalwyk’s three-pointer was just off the mark.
“To hold Patrick VanDaalwyk, the leading scorer in the league, to only nine points is a real credit to mainly Kevin Moe, Nate Jenson and Zach Nellis,” Weber said. “Those three guys really did a nice job containing.
“We had a couple chances to really put the nail in the coffin,” he added. “We missed some wide open shots that would have boosted that lead to a more comfortable margin, but it didn’t happen. Then it came down to free throws in the end. Sure enough, they stayed in it.”
Kaminske led all scorers with 22 points and was the only Waupaca player to finish in double figures. Xavier Fletcher led the Truckers with 12.
“We’ve won two out of three,” Weber said. “Granted it’s been against Berlin and Clintonville, but who cares? It’s great for the kids because it shows that they never stop working. We’re playing much better.”
Freedom 56, Waupaca 35
FREEDOM – A 16-2 run to start the second period helped the Irish take control. Freedom also held the Comets scoreless over the final five minutes of the first half.
Freedom led 11-8 after one quarter, 31-15 at halftime and 41-24 after three quarters.
The Irish also held Kaminske to a season-low five points. Eric Schoohs, Jenson and Nellis led Waupaca with six points each.
Freedom’s Eric Sajdak led all scorers with a dozen.
Waupaca opened state tournament play Tuesday, March 1, at Shawano. If the Comets defeat the Hawks, they would play at top-seeded Antigo at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, in a Division 2 regional semifinal.