A playoff game atmosphere saturated the gymnasium as the Polar Bear boys’ basketball team nearly pulled off a huge upset against the Neenah Rockets on Friday, Jan. 9.
From the opening tip, both teams played with a ton of intensity. By the end of the first quarter, the score was tied, 14-14.
Both teams scored eight points in the second quarter, leaving the score knotted at 22 apiece going into halftime. The Polar Bears had played good defense, but missed a few layups that would have given them a narrow lead in the first half.
After making a few adjustments at the break, the Rockets were able to earn a 20-16 scoring advantage in the third quarter to take a 42-38 lead going into the final frame.
Trying desperately to gain an edge, the Polar Bears left it all on the court as the final eight minutes ticked away. Players dove for loose balls, scrambled for rebounds, and played the best defense they could muster.
On the offensive end, the Bears used quick passes and a few big 3-point shots to keep pace with the Rockets. Unfortunately, Hortonville players missed a few more shots from underneath the basket that would have helped their cause.
Neenah’s lead grew to seven points early in the fourth quarter and eventually reached double digits after the Rockets converted an and-one opportunity and then drew a technical foul against Hortonville, making all of the free throw attempts.
Hortonville cut the lead to 51-46 with 3:15 left to play. After another minute of play, Hortonville had cut the deficit to 53-51; however, Neenah then went on a 7-3 run to put the game out of reach. The final score was 60-54 in favor of the Rockets.
Kyle Witthuhn led Hortonville with 22 points while Charlie Schabo scored 13. Sean Killoren added nine, Ryan Krueger tallied eight, and Sam Thompson netted two for the Polar Bears.
Oshkosh North 66, Hortonville 46
A dismal second quarter and a weak fourth quarter proved to be the Polar Bears’ undoing in a 66-46 loss to the Oshkosh North Spartans.
Hortonville trailed 16-12 after one quarter and 35-15 at halftime. The Polar Bears outscored the Spartans 18-11 in the third quarter but Oshkosh North responded by outscoring Hortonville 20-13 in the final period.
Ryan Krueger scored 21 points for the Polar Bears while Witthuhn added 14. Thompson added six and Killoren netted five for Hortonville.
The Polar Bears now own a 5-5 overall record and a 2-4 record in the Fox Valley Association.