Panthers Down West Warriors, 61-40
Coach Anderson was satisfied with the outcome but said he thinks fans haven’t seen the Panthers at their best
By Ken McKenzie
Despite a slow start with a sluggish offense and a deliberate opponent, the SPASH Panthers used a 13-0 second quarter scoring margin to give themselves separation and going on to defeat the Wausau West Warrior 61-40 in WVC action.
The win maintains their pure record, advancing their conference mark to 7-0 and overall campaign to 17-0; this one coming in the shadow of Saturday’s 71-57 win over Middleton at the JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells.
Coach Scott Anderson was complimentary to the West approach to start the game.
“They tested us on both ends of the floor,” said Coach Anderson. “They’ve played us tough both times this year but we gave them a little trouble in the second quarter when we stretched them with the 1-3-1 defense and that produced some offense we didn’t have in the first quarter. They’ve got a good young team and young coach doing a nice job with their program.”
Showing fewer signs of his ankle injury than he did a week ago, Sam Hauser put a spin move on the baseline to open the scoring and added a hanger in the lane after Wausau matched the early score with an alley-oop pass to Carson Weber. Matching Wausau’s patience with the ball and working for a better look, Hauser hit a long, three-point jumper from the high left arc to push to 7-2 and Mack Journell cashed in on the backside when Hauser felt the double team and made the pass to his open teammate for the bunny shot.
West answered with hoops by Jakob Tordsen and Taylor Penn, with Penn adding twin free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining in the quarter to knot the score at nines.
Trevor Anderson earned his first three points on a driving goal and foul to push to 12-9 and Andrew Ruzek made the put back rebound shot at 4:21 to go up five. Anderson then had three consecutive scores for the Panthers as SPASH jumped ahead 20-9; with Anderson finding Joey Hauser with a crisp pass as he knifed across the lane for the lay in to end the scoring in the half with SPASH up, 22-9.
Sam Hauser had the opening two scores for SPASH in the third; the second one on a trey from left arc. Ruzek set an effective pick, enabling a Joey Hauser score; then steadied himself to tally a rebound basket to push SPASH to the biggest lead it would register on the night at 31-11.
West added back to back three-point efforts from Penn and Tordsen before Anderson scored twice more, earning his second inbounds hoop on the night when he looped the top and went down the lane for the score to push the margin back to 35-19. West added a pair of free throws and another trey, this time by Jacob Raeder; Anderson answered for the Panthers with a field goal and twin free throws with Joey Hauser getting a tip-in at the horn to end the third at a 41-24 SPASH advantage.
Anderson drove the lane and Joey Hauser got the score on a breakout and assist from Anderson. Sam Hauser added twin throws to match a pair by Penn, a West score in transition by Steven Lewandowski and a trey by Raeder cut the lead back to 16. Sam Hauser was quick to add a jumper and three-point shot from the top and Joey Hauser got his final points of the night and a strong move to the rack, taking whatever contact the West defenders would give.
Anderson tallied on a jumper in the lane, a spin move and bank and then hit a pull up three-pointer on the break to push to 61-37. West mustered a final free throw and hoop by Matt Borto to earn the final 61-40 margin.
Coach Anderson was satisfied with the outcome but said he thinks fans haven’t seen the Panthers at their best- least not for a solid 32 minutes.
“We seem to play in spurts,” said Coach Anderson. “The coach in me still thinks we have another gear that we haven’t really found with any consistency. We’ve seen flashes but there’s a part of me that still wants to see us at our absolute best for an entire game.”
The Panthers now host Marshfield in the late game in a girls/boys double-header on Friday at 6 & 7:45 PM, respectively, at the SPASH Fieldhouse.
The team then travels to Wisconsin Rapids a week from Friday to open the boys/girls doubleheader in a 6 PM tilt, and stay on the road with the anchor game slot in a six-game match up called the WI vs. MN Border Battle on Saturday, Feb. 7 in St. Paul, Minn. There, they will play the tournament-site hosts, Cretin-Derham Hall at 7:45 PM.
At press, Cretin-Derham has a 15-3 record after starting out the season ranked #1 in the state.
SPASH Scoring: Sam Hauser 19, Trev Anderson 26, Mack Journell 2, Joey Hauser 10, Andrew Ruzek 4