Waupaca knocks off Oconto Falls
By Greg SeubertA long road trip on a cold night resulted in the first North Eastern Conference win for the Waupaca boys’ basketball team.
Brandon Wanty scored 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half in the Comets’ 69-44 win over Oconto Falls on the Panthers’ home court Dec. 13.
Logan Bunge and Wanty combined to score the game’s first 10 points to give Waupaca a 10-0 lead. The Panthers eventually cut the lead to 14-8, but the Comets closed the first half with a 17-2 run to take a 31-10 lead at the break.
The Panthers never got any closer than 17 points in the second half and trailed by as many as 35 at one point before cutting the lead to 20 points three times in the final 5:08.
“Obviously, there were some times when it was a little sloppier than we would have liked,” coach Matt Bredesen said. “We didn’t shoot particularly well to start the game and shot a little better in the second half, but a win’s a win. It’s always good to get wins.”
Oconto Falls switched from its man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone that gave the Comets problems at times.
“That was the first time we’ve seen it in a game,” Bredesen said. “We did a real nice job against the 2-3, we’ve seen that a little bit and got some high-low action out of that. The 1-3-1, we weren’t getting the post movement that we wanted right away. Once we drill it a little more, I think we’ll be a little more comfortable with it.”
A lack of size and depth eventually caught up with the Panthers.
“Logan got us going early,” Bredesen said. “He got in a little foul trouble in the second half, but then Ryan (Dayton) and Brandon hit some shots. It was a good combination.”
Dayton ended up with 17 points and Bunge finished with 14, including 12 in the first half.
“Ryan’s our leader,” Bredesen said. “When we had to play more than three quarters of that game at New London without him, it was a big difference. He’s kind of a calming influence.”
Dakota Carriveau had nine points to lead the Panthers.
Waupaca connected on 17 of 34 shots, including seven of 21 three-pointers, and also made 16 of 21 free throws.
“You’re never satisfied as a coach,” Bredesen said. “Had we hit a few more shots in the first half, we in even more control than we were in. In the second half, we got sloppy a couple times, especially defensively. We had some absolutely uncalled-for fouls and we have to clean that up. When you’re fouling a guy 84 feet from the rim, it’s not a good foul ever.”
Waupaca will play at Little Chute at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, to wrap up a stretch that included five of six games on the road.
The Mustangs are 3-2 and 2-1 in North Eastern play, while Waupaca is 1-2 in league play and 2-3 overall.
“Little Chute’s kind of a mystery to me,” Bredesen said. “I saw West De Pere handle them fairly well and it surprised me when they lost to Marinette, but then they beat New London. (Mickey Martin) is a good coach. He’s been there, they’ve been there, it’s going to be a good game. We’re still looking for a signature win and there’s no better way to get it than to get one Friday night.”
The Comets will then open a four-game home stand at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, against Fox Valley Lutheran before games against Marinette, Berlin and Freedom.