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* Bucs Go 2-1 During Busy Week Before Break
* Bulldogs, Cougars, Marines Claim Dual Victories
* Niagara and Crivitz Share M&O Penthouse
* Marinette Sinks Denmark in NEC Showdown
* Conference Play Begins for Area Squads

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Conference Play Begins for Area Squads

Blue Devils Down Bulldogs in Packerland Opener

In their first conference game in the Packerland, the Peshtigo Bulldogs played host to the Oconto Blue Devils Friday night. The familiar teams played every year, but for the first time they played as conference opponents. In typical fashion, the game turned out to be a battle as the teams fought to a 31-30 halftime score, Oconto leading. In the second half, the Blue Devils' senior experience shined as they pulled away and won 76-66.

Oconto's Connor Ebben began his big night as his short jumper gave the Blue Devils an 11-8 advantage. Peshtigo stormed back with an 8-0 run thanks to a layup from Cameron Noffke, two from Mitchell VanVooren and a long jumper from Trent Carriveau. The Bulldog lead didn't last long as Oconto responded with a run of their own. Isaac Woller's hook shot started the run, then Evan Allen and Woller each added layups to go ahead 18-17.

As the half was winding down, both teams continued to battle for the lead. Carriveau connected on one of two free throws to tie the game at 24-24, but Ebben gave Oconto the lead with another short-range jump shot. This time, it was VanVooren's turn to tie the score with a layup, before Jake Krueger gave the Blue Devils the lead once again. It looked as though Peshtigo would go ahead at the break as Nathan Goneau connected on a deep two for a 30-29 lead, but a foul a long way from the basket gave Carson Moe a shot at the free throw line. Moe made both, putting the score at halftime, 31-30 Oconto.

Early in the second half, Carriveau drilled a triple for Peshtigo, putting them ahead 35-33. From there though, it was seemingly all Oconto. Woller hit two free throws and Zach Sherman hit a layup and a free throw, before Ebben went to work. A layup, followed by back-to-back three pointers by Ebben put the Oconto lead to 46-39. Krueger then connected on a three and on the Bulldogs' inbound, Allen stole the ball and scored a layup putting the lead to 51-39.

"I think we really shot ourselves in the foot. I think we hurt ourselves with bad decision making at times, some costly turnovers and then just miscommunication. The good news is, I don't think they beat us necessarily, I think we beat ourselves," said Peshtigo Coach Nate Motkowski.

Ebben was just getting warmed up as he hit a deep two, a fade away jumper and hit one of two free throws after a Peshtigo technical foul. Moe's layup extended the lead to 58-43. Noffke ended the Blue Devil run with two free throws, but Oconto again went on a 6-0 run, giving them their largest lead of the game at 64-45 with just over six minutes to play. Peshtigo was able to cut the score down a bit, but Oconto came away victorious, 76-66.

"Hats off to Ebben, even when we had him covered defensively, he just rose up and hit a shot over us. Sometimes you just have to shake the guy's hand and say "Hey, heck of a game'," said Coach Motkowski.

Mitchell VanVooren led the way for Peshtigo with 17 points, senior Max Neumann followed up with 14 points and Trent Carriveau added 12. Connor Ebben led all scorers with 24 points for the Blue Devils, Carson Moe pitched in 17 points and Isaac Woller added 14.

"We just told the guys, the sky is not falling. We're two games in and two of the toughest teams we're going to play. We know, being young and inexperienced, that next time we play those guys, we won't be the same team. We'll have a little more confidence, we'll know who our leaders and guys are, and we're still in it for sure," said Coach Motkowski of the 0-2 start.

Marines Battle Through Injuries; Beat Blue Devils

The Marinette Marines took to the road Tuesday evening to battle the Oconto Blue Devils in a non-conference showdown. Marinette grabbed an early lead, but Oconto fought right back to cut the halftime lead to 32-29, Marines. In the second half, the back and forth affair went the Marines' way for good with 8:44 left in the contest. Marinette opened a lead as large as 12, going on to win the contest 74-65.

Behind stingy defense, the Marines opened separate nine-point leads early in the game. Oconto quickly fought back, taking a 22-19 lead with just over four minutes to play in the first half. Teams exchanged baskets and the lead throughout the rest of the first half. Jake Poetzl drained a triple for Marinette and a 28-27 lead with 1:50 to play. Isaac Woller secured a rebound and a put-back for the Blue Devils and the lead, but Marinette took the advantage into halftime as Jordan Wendt went two for two at the charity stripe and added a layup. Marinette led 32-29 at halftime.

Out of halftime, Oconto's Woller, Connor Ebben and Zach Sherman all recorded a basket as the Blue Devils took the lead 35-34. Tyler Fayta answered back for the Marines as the lead kept changing hands. Ebben recorded a layup and Evan Allen cashed in on a steal with a layup, bringing the score to 39-38, Oconto.

Blue Devil Carson Moe, just 19 points shy of his 1,000th career point, drained a three but Jordan Wendt answered with a triple of his own to give Marinette the advantage once again. Later, Wendt knotted the game at 49-49 with a pair of free throw shots. Moe picked up his fourth foul for Oconto with 8:44 left in the game, forcing him to take a seat. That's when the Marines were able to separate themselves. Poetzl went one for two at the free throw line to give the Marines the lead, a lead they would never again surrender. Poetzl came down and hit a floater in the lane and on the next possession Wendt scored a layup. Woller's short jumper trimmed the lead a bit, but Jeremy Wendt scored on a rebound and put-back.

Forcing Oconto to bring back Moe with four fouls, the Marinette lead swelled to nine as Wendt hit a three and Walker Stroming made a layup. Oconto was able to shrink the lead as Woller banked in a jumper and Moe scored on an old-fashioned three-point play and the lead was down to 61-57 with 3:20 to go. Unfortunately for Oconto, Moe fouled out with just over three minutes to play. Wendt made those two free throws, then broke free for a thunderous dunk that pushed the lead to 65-57 for Marinette. From there, all of the Marines' damage was done at the free throw line. Marinette finished nine of ten at the line to ice the game, winning 74-65.

"I was really happy with it," said Marinette coach Nick Semenas of his defense. "Even the man, we got in foul trouble and that's why we really switched to zone. The real emphasis on defense, though, was getting rebounds and stopping the possession and according to the radio we did that 30 to 20, so we're very pleased with that."

Jordan Wendt led Marinette with 24 points, Jake Poetzl added 20 points and Tyler Fayta finished with 13 for the Marines. Connor Ebben paced the Blue Devils with 24 points, Isaac Woller chipped in with 15 and Carson Moe finished nine points away from 1,000, with 10 points.

"It was really good to see us step up to the moment like this. This team [Oconto], I mean, beating Oconto this year is a significant victory in my mind and it is to our kids too. I've been waiting on a game like this for a while, this was a lot of fun," said Coach Semenas of the win.

Suring Snags Key Win Over Crivitz

Tuesday evening the Suring Eagles played host to the Crivitz Wolverines in both teams' conference opener. A narrow margin at halftime gave Suring the advantage, 23-22. The Eagles used that slight edge to their advantage in the second half, winning the contest 61-48.

Ryan Mahoney and Mitch Stegeman each scored 18 to lead the Eagles, Reece Garrigan added nine points and Cody Smith and Caleb Lally each pitched in eight.

Crivitz was paced by Jakob Voss with 16 points, Travis Giese added 13 points, and Shane Bauer chipped in eight points for the Wolverines.

Cavaliers Fall to T-Hawks In Conference Opener

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy played host to Oneida Tuesday evening as the Cavaliers and Thunderhawks squared off in their conference opener. The battle went to Oneida's advantage in the first half, as they held a small lead, 21-19. In the second half though, the Thunderhawks went on a 15-3 run that would not be answered. Oneida went on to win 58-38.

Ryan King led the Thunderhawks with 19 points, Richard Summers added 12 and Jose Sanchez pitched in with 10. For the Cavs, Jack Farley finished with 20 points, Tyler Stuart had 14 and Alex Powers added five.

Rangers Defeat Badgers With Solid Defense

Tuesday night, the Wausaukee Rangers and the Niagara Badgers matched up in an M&O Conference showdown. The Rangers took a 19-13 lead heading into the intermission, before going on to win the contest 46-34.

Alex Hagerty led the Badgers with 12 points and Austin Hagerty added seven points. Matt Delfosse paced all scorers with 16 points for the Rangers and Hayden Renikow scored 12.

Tigers Win Shootout Over Wildcats

Tuesday evening the Gillett Tigers traveled to Lena to take on the Wildcats in an M&O Conference matchup. The teams battled to a narrow 35-31 lead held by Gillett at halftime, before exploding for a combined 109 second-half points. Gillett won the offensive battle 91-84.

Cole Long paced the Tigers with 26 points, Elijah Framnes followed with 16 points, Jesse Schaefer finished with 14 and Logan Krause recorded 13 points. For the Wildcats, Colby Borchert led all scorers with 27 points, Levi Potter pitched in with 20 points and Chantz Rowell had 16 points.

Cougars No Match For Chargers

Friday evening the Coleman Cougars took to the road to take on the Wittenberg-Birnamwood Chargers. This non-conference matchup was dominated from start to finish by the Chargers as they held a 33-19 lead at halftime, before going on to win 62-27.

Austin Marquardt led Coleman with 13 points, Nick Teteak and Cole Woulf each added four and Cayden Bintz and Payton Nelson each finished with three. For the Chargers, Trevor Groshek scored a game-high 15 points, while Matt Kapitz and Cory Fraaze both added 12.

Eagles Fly High to Claim Win Over Rebels

In their third home game in as many contests, the Suring Eagles played host to the Laona-Wabeno Rebels in a non-conference matchup. Suring jumped out to a big lead, heading into the halftime break leading 32-18. The Eagles then cruised through the second half, winning the contest 57-43.

Mitchell Stegeman led all scorers with 17 points for the Eagles, Ryan Mahoney and Caleb Lilly each finished with 14 points. The Rebels were led by Baylen Caley with 13 points, Josh Stefanski added 12 and Jacob Christianson had seven.

Battered Marines Fall to Freedom

A North Eastern Conference showdown took place Friday night as the Marinette Marines traveled to Freedom to take on the Irish. After holding a 25-23 lead at halftime, the injury bug stung the Marines, and they fell to the Irish 51-37. Already short-handed with guard Jake Poetzl sidelined by an ankle injury, the Marines were banged up during the game as starting guard Matt Wagner suffered a wrist injury and center Jordan Wendt broke his nose for Marinette.

Wagner, although hurt, led the Marines with 14 points, Wendt added 13, Tyler Fayta and Walker Stroming each pitched in four. Freedom was paced by Zach Mashlan with 12, followed by Ty Brickner with nine.

Patriots Bounce By Badgers

Thursday evening, the Niagara Badgers went on the road to battle with the Goodman-Pembine Patriots. The hard fought contest was decided by 12 points, as the Badgers took home a 55-43 non-conference victory.

"We came out from the start playing very slow. Our rebounding discipline was not there. It was a very physical game and we never matched their intensity. In the second half, we started to hit a few shots and had opportunities to close the gap but went cold again late and never recovered. I was proud of my guys for never giving up and keeping their poise in a difficult game," said Patriots' coach John Swick.

Niagara was led by Austin Hagerty with 19 points, Alex Hagerty pitched in nine points and Ben Oratch finished with four points along with 13 rebounds. For the Patriots, Elisha Heath led the way with 12 points, Hagan Braaten added 10 and Evan Metras finished with eight.

Goodman-Pembine

Defeats Lena

The Goodman-Pembine Patriot boys had no troubles taking care of the Lena Wildcats 81-51.

"I was really happy that we were able to start pretty fast and kind of dictate the tempo right away," said Goodman-Pembine head coach John Swick. "We moved the ball well for the most part but there is much work to do with protecting the ball. Our senior leaders really stepped up and calmed things down at times. I was very pleased that we had 10 players score tonight which will really help us moving forward."

"This is an exciting team and it is so good to get that first game in and to come out with a win is huge," added Coach Swick.

Hagan Braaten led in scoring with 26 points while Wyatt Marcy had 23 points. Evan Metras finished with 9 points and Caleb Nelson added 6 points. Logan Moloney, Colby Nelson and Stan Masusczak all added 4 points as well. 


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