Panthers edge out Tigers in double-OT, hands Marshfield first conference loss
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT – An energetic game between the SPASH boys’ basketball team and Marshfield kept fans on the edge of their seats on Feb. 14.
The Panthers, being short-handed, clawed their way to a 62-60 double-overtime win to hand Marshfield its first conference loss of the season.
SPASH improves to 7-3 inside the WVC.
An emotional and exhausting win allowed SPASH coach Jon Krull to reflect on the moment for only a short time.
“The atmosphere, the game, the opponent, where we are in the season, I’m just so proud of my players. [The players] have worked hard all year, but we’ve scratched and clawed throughout the year with injuries and had been short-handed,” Krull explained after the game. “Not having Grant (Chandonais) tonight could have given us every excuse in the book to use. But these guys came out, and they didn’t flinch. They executed the game plan, and I’m just proud of them.”
SPASH fed into the crowd’s energy right from the opening tip. That translated to stellar on-court play early in the game.
The Panthers controlled the tempo for most of the opening half on both ends, holding onto a slight advantage.
It was sophomore Jerrin Suehs providing a spark from behind the arc, drilling a few triples in the first half for SPASH.
He finished the first half with a team-high 10 points.
“[Jerrin] opens up a lot of stuff for a lot of other guys if he’s able to knock shots down. Tonight, he was able to,” Krull said. “If he’s hitting, he is a tough guard, and we were able to find enough shots for him. He knocked down some big ones late for us.”
Senior Bennett Klish extended the Panthers’ lead to 27-20 with a 3 just before the horn.
Marshfield came out of the locker room and threw the first punch. An 8-2 Tiger run in the first 5:30 of the second half made it a one-point game, 29-28.
SPASH’s Arriel Council Jr picked up three straight fouls a few minutes later, forcing Krull to pull his senior in a tight game.
“The bench guys that haven’t played a lot of minutes for us this year stepped up. They didn’t flinch as well,” Krull stated. “They went in and attacked it like any other game. We weathered the storm a little bit while AC (Arriel Council Jr) had to be out.”
Krull also talked through the mindset of taking Council Jr out and when to put him back into the game with foul trouble.
“We tried to weather the storm a little bit. [The Tigers] were getting a little bit of a lead, and we didn’t want it to get too extended because they are really good with a lead. Around that seven-minute mark, we had to get him out there. We said ‘roll the dice and see what happens.’”
SPASH committed a few turnovers while holding a two-possession lead, which brought Marshfield back into the game.
The Panthers held strong defensively on Marshfield’s final two attempts, sending the game to overtime tied at 48-48.
Both sides battled through the four minutes with still no winner. SPASH got the better of Marshfield in the second overtime.
Suehs, who finished with 19 points, splashed a 3 in front of the SPASH student section.
That put the Panthers up 58-55 with 43 seconds remaining.
The Tigers made a final push but couldn’t hit a winning attempt at the buzzer.