Ron Weber’s final postgame talk of the season usually centers around his seniors that won’t suit up for the Waupaca boys’ basketball team any more.
That wasn’t the case this season, however, as the Comets didn’t have a senior on the roster.
The season came to an end Feb. 23 with a 59-41 loss to Hortonville in a Division 2 regional semifinal on the Polar Bears’ home court. Waupaca also opened state tournament play Feb. 19 with a 45-32 win over Shawano.
Three of Waupaca’s six wins this season came in the final six games.
“That’s all I talked about in the locker room,” Weber said. “Nobody’s gone. If I have seniors at the last game like this, then there’s a lot of compassion and sympathy because they’re done. Everybody in front of me is back. I told them, ‘I don’t even want you to think about this game, what I want you to think about it next year and the way we turned our season around this year.’
“There was a turning point where all of a sudden, we understood that we had to practice hard to compete at the varsity level,” he said. “The guys started practicing hard and started to have more success on the court. Then, we won three out of five and won a tournament game.”
Hortonville 59, Waupaca 41
HORTONVILLE – The Polar Bears held the Comets to eight or fewer points in three quarters.
Hortonville, the top-seeded team in its bracket, led 11-8 after one quarter, 26-15 at halftime and 42-23 after three quarters.
The Comets never got any closer than nine points in the second half and trailed by as many as 19.
Nate Jenson led the Comets with a game-high 15 points, while teammate Brando Vasquez scored all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Brendan Thomas, Jacob Bamke and Alex Lasinski led Hortonville with 14 points each.
Waupaca 45, Shawano 32
SHAWANO – A scoring drought that lasted for almost two quarters hurt the Hawks.
Shawano took a 13-3 lead into the second quarter and had a 20-5 lead early in the second quarter, but didn’t score again until there were six minutes left in the game.
The Hawks led 20-16 at halftime and Matt Waldschmidt’s basket in the third quarter gave Waupaca the lead for good at 21-20. The Comets took a 28-20 lead into the fourth quarter and outscored the Hawks 17-12 in the final period.
Vasquez and Jenson led the Comets with 18 and 10 points, respectively, while Shawano didn’t have a player in double figures.