Appleton’s two Eastern Valley Conference boys’ basketball teams have had their way so far this season with the Waupaca Comets.
Fox Valley Lutheran handed Waupaca a 64-40 loss Monday, Dec. 12, two days after Appleton Xavier defeated the Comets 72-45 on the Hawks’ home court.
FVL 64, Waupaca 40
WAUPACA – The first three minutes of the second half turned out to be the difference in the game.
The Foxes took a 32-21 lead into the locker room at halftime after outscoring the Comets 13-11 in the first quarter and 19-10 in the second.
FVL opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run that included a pair of three-pointers from Austin Eisenmann.
“We just could not get a defensive rebound and that really killed us,” coach Ron Weber said. “We were down by 11 at half and talked about how important the first two minutes of the third quarter were going to be. We were either going to knock it down below double digits or they were going to raise it up to that 16, 17 mark. Now, you’re looking at that gigantic hill to try to get over and that becomes really tough against a quality team.
“We gave them two, three, sometimes even four shots,” he said. “That’s our own fault. Are they taller than us at just about every position? Yeah, but that’s where heart comes in. I was disappointed in our kids in that area.”
That 11-2 run gave FVL a 43-23 lead and the Comets never got any closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Jon Schlaver led the Foxes with 13 points off the bench.
“It’s no surprise that he became a factor in the game,” Weber said of the 6-7 senior. “He comes off the bench and boy, what a nice changeup they can go to, bringing a 6-7 boy off the bench. A lot of it was our fault. I don’t think we battled him that hard. We have to play much better post defense.”
Brando Vasquez led the Comets with nine points, while Jordan Christensen added eight.
“If he gets to go over his right shoulder to his left hand, he’s really good and he’s hard to get around,” Weber said of Christensen. “The problem is many times he’s undersized in there and he has trouble. He was able to walk right into those post-ups and the kids fed him a couple of times.”
The Foxes also hit seven of 11 free throws, while the Comets were two of four.
“The bottom line for me is I feel way better tonight than I have after our last three losses,” Weber said. “Our kids took it to heart to come out and become a better basketball team. I think we really did. You look at a 24-point loss and say, ‘Are you serious about that?’ I am. I thought we did some very nice things out there, but some of the things we don’t do well still rear their ugly heads at times.”
Xavier 72, Waupaca 45
APPLETON – The Comets didn’t have an answer for Xavier’s Dru Harris, who hit seven three-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points.
The Hawks led 16-6 after one quarter, 45-20 at halftime and 65-39 after three quarters.
Vasquez and Christensen led Waupaca with 11 points each and Nate Jenson chipped in with 10.
“The beginning of the game killed us,” Weber said. “We turned it over too much and missed our first eight shots. That ball would teeter on the rim for us and we needed every roll to compete against a team like Xavier.
“All of a sudden, you look up, it’s a big deficit and reality hits us,” he added. “We know who we are, but we have to get better every day. That’s what we’re hanging our hopes on.”
The Comets are off until they host Berlin at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. Both teams are currently 0-4 in conference play.
“We can have 35 days (between games), but if a kid’s not ready to get ready and work, it doesn’t matter,” Weber said. “We have a nice chunk of time to get ready for Berlin. This is big for us. This is a game we have a chance to win realistically.”
The 0-5 Indians’ roster includes 6-9 Toby Hegner, who has missed some time this season.
“I don’t know about the Hegner kid, but if he’s not back, we have a really good chance to win,” Weber said.