At first, it looked like the Waupaca boys’ basketball team was going to pick up its fourth win of the season.
With 1:56 remaining, the Comets held onto a 41-36 lead over Green Bay Notre Dame Saturday, Jan. 21.
Not so fast.
The Comets didn’t score again and fell to the Tritons 47-41.
“Our guys should’ve been rewarded with a win,” coach Ron Weber said after watching his team hold the lead for most of the contest. “We walk out with our heads hanging instead of feeling good about ourselves.”
Waupaca scored the game’s first six points and led 10-5 after one quarter and 21-17 at halftime.
Notre Dame’s Patrick Thompson hit a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter to tie the game at 31-31 and teammate Jack Berling hit a pair of free throws in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to give the Tritons their first lead of the game at 33-31.
Brando Vasquez gave the lead back to the Comets with his fifth three-pointer and added a basket to give his team a 38-33 advantage, but the Tritons’ Matt Zacharias started the comeback with a three that cut the lead to 38-36.
Zander Neuville hit a pair of free throws with 1:56 remaining to give Waupaca a 41-36 lead, but those free throws turned out to be the Comets’ final points of the game, as Notre Dame went on an 11-0 run. Berling came up with a turnover, was fouled, hit the shot and completed the three-point play with 38 seconds left to give the Tritons the lead for good at 43-41.
“Basketball is like a baseball game,” Weber said. “Your starting pitcher you hope goes seven solid (innings), then you go to your setup guy and then the closer has to do the job. One falter somewhere along the line can mean the game.
“We didn’t close,” he added. “You have to take care of the ball first of all and hit free throws. That’s the closing game. How familiar is that for us? That’s a new experience.”
Vasquez led all scorers with 17 points, while Nate Jenson added 12 points and a team-high four rebounds. Berling scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the second half, while Ben Bobinski added 10.
Waupaca returned to Eastern Valley Conference action Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Winneconne and will host Appleton Xavier at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. The Comets will also head to Little Chute Tuesday, Jan. 31, for a rescheduled EVC matchup with Little Chute, this week’s top-ranked team in Division 3.