Waupaca boys’ basketball coach Ron Weber expected Clintonville’s zone defense.
He did not expect the Truckers to shoot well, however.
Clintonville hit nine three-pointers and held off the Comets’ late rally Dec. 23 in a 53-48 Eastern Valley Conference win.
The Truckers outscored the Comets 16-11 in the first quarter and 9-2 in the second to take a 25-13 halftime lead.
“Clintonville does everything to neutralize the fact that they’re less talented than everybody else,” Weber said. “They play the 1-3-1 zone and they’re going to say to you, ‘You’re going to have to hit outside shots.’
“They spread you, they bring it out, they’re patient,” he said. “Those two strategies worked. Of course, the one strategy we didn’t count on is how well they shot the ball. I did not expect that.”
A pair of three-pointers from Aaron Morse and Damon Lorge gave the Truckers their biggest lead – 31-15 – early in the third quarter.
“That made us change our game plan,” Weber said. “We have some quickness, but I can’t let Brando (Vasquez) get two early fouls because we’re out pressuring people. He’s got to be in the game, We know he has to be special for us to compete against a team that played as well as Clintonville played tonight.”
Waupaca cut the lead to eight later in the quarter and trailed 39-28 heading into the final period.
The Comets cut the lead to five in the final minute, but never got any closer.
“I was hoping we could beat them using our style: being fundamental and disciplined,” Weber said. “We struggled to shoot and all of a sudden, we’re looking at that hole. The other thing we have to overcome is we just lost composure and control. That can’t happen. It’s enough that you’re battling a team shooting well and you’re on the road. We ended up with two technicals tonight, which is totally unacceptable.”
Waupaca had only four players score, as Tony Blackwell led the Comets with 18. The Truckers held Vasquez, Waupaca’s leading scorer, to 12 and Breon Sease also finished with a dozen.
Tyler Petermann led Clintonville with 23 points,
Waupaca hosted Peshtigo Dec. 30 and will travel to Menasha Saturday, Jan. 3, for a 7:15 p.m. nonconference game. The Comets will return to EVC play Tuesday, Jan. 6, at home against Berlin.