Spartans bombed in season finale
How will Somerset's boys recover?
That's the question being asked repeatedly around Somerset over the weekend, after the Spartan boys were thrashed by Amery Friday night, 64-33. This makes Amery the undefeated 2004 Middle Border Conference champions, while Somerset spirals down to finish in a tie for second place in the conference standings with Prescott.
The Spartans were scheduled to open WIAA Division 3 play on Tuesday night against Fall Creek. The Spartans went into that game as the third seed in the regional while Fall Creek was seeded sixth. The winner of Tuesday's game will play again on Thursday against the winner of the Prescott-Elk Mound game. The winner of Thursday's game will advance to the regional final, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Menomonie.
The loss at Amery left Somerset coach Eric Olson scratching for any silver lining, but he didn't sound like he was finding any positive out of the game.
"If we were going to have a game like this, it was best to get it out of the way before tournaments. That's the only way I can look at it," he said. "It could make us stronger, but I'd just as soon never experience something like that again."
Amery was led by Matt Pedersen and Kyle Paulson, who combined for 34 points. To say they were on fire might be selling them short. Olson said they were a combined 8-11 from three-point range.
Olson blamed himself for not having the Spartans ready to play. With seeding already complete, the coaches were spending more time preparing for this week's tournament games than for the regular season finale.
"I don't think I handled it real well as a coach," Olson said. "Amery proved without a doubt, you can get blown out by a team like that if you don't come ready."
From the start of the game, Somerset had trouble with Amery's full-court pressure. Olson said he and the players panicked, which led to turnovers, not only against the press but also in the halfcourt offense.
Somerset trailed 26-19 at halftime, but Amery took complete control by outscoring the Spartans 18-5 in the third quarter.
Mike Schachtner scored 12 points to lead Somerset. He was the only Spartan with more than four points.He also led the team with eight rebounds.
After a 10-0 start to the season, the Spartans went 5-5 in the second half of the season. The Spartans hope this game is the aberration, because the first four losses were all in extremely close games.
Olson said he feels confident the team will bounce back in the state playoffs.
"We've got good kids who will be able to refocus. Hopefully they will come together even more and believe in the system even more," Olson said.
Amery 64, Somerset 33
Henzler 1 0-0 3, Raleigh 0 0-0 0, Anderson 2 0-2 4, Webb 1 0-0 2, Wishard 2 0-0 4, Reyer 0 0-0 0, Klis 1 0-0 2, Jackson 1 2-2 4, Schreiner 1 0-0 2, Schachtner 5 1-3 12. Totals 14 3-7 33.
Wold 2 2-4 7, Hegg 0 0-2 0, Luehman 3 2-4 8, Pedersen 7 0-0 20, Meyer 3 5-5 11, Paulson 6 0-0 14, Van Someren 1 0-0 2, Zemke 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 9-15 64.
Somerset 10 9 5 9 33
Amery 15 11 18 20 64
Three-point goals -- Henzler, Schachtner, Wold, Pedersen 6, Paulson 2. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Somerset 17, Amery 8.