Bulldogs overcome slow start
By Erik Buchinger
The New London boys’ basketball team overcame a slow start to beat Shiocton 71-57 in a non-conference home game on Friday, Jan. 6.
Bulldogs’ second-year head coach Kurt Schommer said his team performed well following a loss to Menasha earlier in the week.
“We had a tough game on Tuesday against Menasha where we didn’t play to our ability, and it was a really good bounce-back game for us,” Schommer said.
Shiocton scored the first 10 points of the game, and the Bulldogs fell behind 16-3 early before a 10-0 run put them right back in the game.
Shiocton made several 3-pointers early, which dug New London into a hole.
“On our closeouts, we didn’t have high hands on shooters, and they shot the ball well to start the game,” Schommer said. “We missed some easy bunnies right away and some open threes, but we know if we stick to what we do, those will start to go in.”
When New London went trailed by 13 points early, the Bulldogs used a full-court press to get back into the game.
“I challenged the guys to play really hard on defense,” Schommer said. “We were relentless on defense, not giving up anything easy and making them play the whole 94 feet of the floor. We anticipate well, we practice that a lot, and it’s not really a shock that we do well in it at times. It’s just nice to see when we can string a couple stops and steals together.”
Bulldogs’ junior forward Brayden Kurth scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, as New London went ahead by as many as nine points before heading into halftime with a 39-35 advantage.
Junior guard Kyle Wolf scored a game-high 18 points and made a play that made the gym louder than it was all night.
During the second half, Wolf stole the ball at halfcourt, dribbled behind his back to split defenders and attacked the rim for the layup, which got the crowd roaring.
Junior Will Wohlt scored 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds for a double-double. Senior guard Devin Winkler scored seven points and dished out seven assists.
“We were unselfish with the ball, and it was just a great team win,” Schommer said.
New London recorded 17 assists on 28 made field goals.
Shiocton’s leading scorer Nathan Schmidt came into the game averaging 22.1 points per game, but New London held him to 13 points, which led the team.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” Schommer said. “Devin was on him the whole time, and we couldn’t have him get in foul trouble, but everyone else helped out. It was definitely a team effort. A couple shots were a little short, so I think we wore him out a little bit. He’s definitely a good player, and we’re lucky he didn’t get hot.”
The Bulldogs improved to 6-4 overall on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 7:15 p.m. for a home game against Seymour.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Schommer said. “I’m very proud to coach these guys, and I always have been. Win or lose, they work hard, and I’m proud of them.”