Spartans continue to roll, pummel Ellsworth
About the only thing that didn't go right for the Somerset boys Friday night was Osceola couldn't beat Amery.
Somerset beat Ellsworth on Friday by a 64-44 score. If Osceola had knocked off Amery, it would have left Somerset and Amery as co-champions of the Middle Border Conference. But Amery held on to beat Osceola 57-53. So Somerset finishes in second place in the final conference standings with an 11-3 record.
The Spartans were scheduled to begin WIAA Division 3 tournaments on Tuesday. The Spartans were the top seed in the regional and were scheduled to play Webster, the eighth seed. The winner of that game will play again this Thursday, facing the winner of the game between St. Croix Central and Unity.
In Friday's game at Ellsworth, the Spartans rolled from the very beginning. Senior Mike Schachtner rang up 22 points in the first half. The Spartans were also able to get Ellsworth's top two players, Jared Hines and Chad Melstrom, into foul trouble in the first half.
By halftime the Spartans had built a 35-26 lead and it continued to grow through the second half.
Schachtner finished the game with 28 points. Hines was the only Ellsworth player in double figures with 18 points.
The Spartans had good balance in this game. John Anderson and Tim Wenzel each scored eight points, Joel Webb scored six points and Brett Schreiner five points. Spartan coach Eric Olson said Wenzel and Webb gave the Spartans excellent play off the bench in this game.
Ellsworth tried to press in this game, but it's fair to say the press had no effect on the Spartans. That led to the Spartans only committing five turnovers in this game.
This was another game where the Spartans set the tone with their defense. Ever since the Spartans lost to Durand, the team's defense has been playing at a drastically higher level.
Olson said the loss to Durand made the team remember what it is best at doing.
"It gave us a sense of urgency," he said of the Durand loss, "because we needed to play better defense and be more patient on offense."
Olson said it is those two ingredients that will give the Spartans their best chance of winning in the playoffs.