The roster indicates he’s a freshman, but Brando Vasquez doesn’t look like someone with only two varsity basketball games under his belt.
The point guard scored a game-high 15 points Saturday, Nov. 26, to help lead the Waupaca boys’ basketball team to a 53-39 nonconference win over Denmark. Vasquez also led the Comets with 15 points Tuesday, Nov. 22, in a 49-46 season-opening loss to Mosinee.
Waupaca 53, Denmark 39
DENMARK – A 21-8 advantage in the second quarter helped the Comets pick up the win on the Vikings’ home court.
Waupaca took a 15-14 lead into the second quarter, led 35-23 at halftime and led 42-29 heading into the fourth quarter before leading by as many as 16 points down the stretch.
“We played the way I envision us to play,” coach Ron Weber said. “It certainly wasn’t perfect, but that’s the way I want to play.”
Vasquez was the only Comet to finish in double figures. Nate Christian and Trevor Sweeney added eight points each and Nate Jenson scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter.
“We had some nice bench play,” Weber said. “We busted it open when we had a couple of guys off the bench in there.”
Tanner Umentum led Denmark with 12 points.
Mosinee 49, Waupaca 46
WAUPACA – Mosinee led 16-14 after one quarter, 25-20 at halftime and 36-31 after three quarters before Waupaca took a brief lead late in the game.
Jenson gave the Comets a 45-44 lead with a three-pointer with 2:15 left, but the Indians outscored Waupaca 5-1 the rest of the way to get the nonconference win.
Max Soderberg gave the Indians the lead for good at 46-45 with 1:24 remaining. Waupaca’s Kevin Moe nearly sent the game into overtime with 3 seconds to go, but his three-pointer rolled off of the rim.
“I thought the first half was very sluggish,” Weber said. “It’s hard to explain and you try to figure it out. We dug ourselves a hole, but I thought there were bright spots. I thought we played some good basketball at times.
“Mosinee is a very solid team,” he added. “They took care of the ball, very patient offensively and got it to where they wanted to get it. Quite honestly, we simply didn’t play well enough over an extended period of time to win the game.”
Vasquez led Waupaca with 15 points, while Christian and Moe added eight each. Derek Plath led Mosinee with 15.
“Brando played very well for a freshman point guard,” Weber said. “He’s composed, he’s under control. We talk about getting the ball to the right people in the right spot, that’s what Brando can do. We saw it all summer long in our varsity league and I’ve seen it all fall. He plays like a veteran.”
Mosinee was able to slow down Waupaca’s offense with a 1-3-1 zone defense, according to Weber.
“We were a little slow to react to it,” he said. “The 1-3-1 is not a typical kind of zone. It makes you play a little differently than you would against a 2-3 or a 1-2-2. There’s a unique way to attack it. We talked about it briefly one night and practiced against it a bit.”
The Indians also took advantage at the free-throw line, hitting 15 of 21 attempts. Waupaca connected on only three of eight.
“We fouled way too much, especially in the first half,” Weber said. “These are all lessons to learn from and that’s the key. The guys have to stick together, keep getting better and learn lessons. We have to get to work, that’s the bottom line.”