Second-half surge fuels Polar Bears
By Erik Buchinger
Polar Bears’ senior Charlie Schabo scored 20 points in the second half for a season-high 26, as Hortonville came back to beat Appleton North 78-62 at home on Thursday, Feb. 9.
The Polar Bears once trailed by nine in the first half and went into halftime down 33-27 before Hortonville went on a second-half surge.
“As usual, it was another slow start for us,” Hortonville head coach Matt Hintz said. “I told the guys after the game that we’re going to go play a half in some other gym before we show up to the real game. I don’t know what the deal is right now, but obviously we’ve got to figure it out.”
Hortonville scored the first 21 points of the second half to take a 48-33 advantage.
“I didn’t have to say anything at halftime, I really didn’t,” Hintz said. “It wasn’t one of those where I went in and chewed them out. They saw the look in my eye and knew they were underperforming, and they just needed to be better, and they were. I liked the way we responded in the second half.”
Appleton North came back to cut the lead to 65-60 with four minutes left, and Schabo scored eight consecutive points for Hortonville down the stretch to keep the Polar Bears ahead.
Schabo has been battling ankle injuries over the last few weeks, and Hintz said the team is much different with him in the lineup.
“It’s a savior because he handles our offense,” Schabo said. “We always know the ball is in good hands, and we don’t turn the ball over when he’s out there quite as much. His defense is under-looked at times. He does a great job guarding people, and his overall leadership is a key asset for us. He’s been great for three years.”
The game also featured three dunks for Hortonville. Senior Ryan Krueger scored two his 17 points on a two-handed jam on a drive to the hoop in the first half and threw down a break-away, one-handed dunk in the second half.
Krueger’s second dunk followed the first career slam from Chandler Guyette, who scored 15 points in the game.
“It’s about time we got some juice, especially the Guyette kid,” Hintz said. “He’s been wanting to get one, and I didn’t know if that was the chance, but I’m glad he went up and did it. It means he’s getting confidence in what he’s doing and trusted it, and it was great go see.”
Hortonville improved to 5-12 overall, including 4-10 in the FVA. Appleton North’s Adam Zeratsky scored a team-high 18 points, as the Lightning dropped to 3-16 overall and 1-15 in the conference.
The Polar Bears will play Division I’s second-ranked Kimberly on the road on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m.