Spartans start 6-0, fighting off Boyceville
It appeared Somerset's boys basketball team was on its way to winning comfortably, leading 44-27 after three quarters at Boyceville on Saturday.
Boyceville made a maddening charge at the Spartans in the fourth quarter, cutting that 17 point lead down to two points. The Spartans then regrouped, holding on for a 56-51 win that raises their season record to 6-0.
Somerset coach Eric Olson said he wasn't expecting the Spartans to be undefeated at this stage of the season. That is mostly due to the fact that five of the first six games were played on the road.
"I thought if we could get past Osceola (Somerset won 44-42), the schedule favored us," Olson said. "To win that many games on the road is impressive."
The Spartans built their 44-27 lead despite the fact that most of the team was having a cold night shooting. The two exceptions were senior Andy Jackson and junior Mike Schachtner. Schachtner has been ringing up incredible numbers this season and that continued Saturday. He was 8-12 from two-point range and 4-5 on three-pointers as he finished with 31 points. Jackson was 4-7 from the field. Schachtner also led the team with 10 rebounds. Billy Raleigh's four steals led the team, as did Adam Henzler's seven assists.
This was somewhat of an oddly officiated game. There was a total of two fouls called in the first half. Then in the second half, 25 fouls were called.
Olson said he was surprised to see that the team didn't react well to Boyceville's fourth quarter charge, with the Bulldogs turning up the defensive pressure and hitting several outside shots.
"We didn't play particularly well at Baldwin or Boyceville," Olson said. "But finding ways to win those games is a good thing."
Olson said one of the most positive things about the start of the season has been the strong overall play within the Somerset boys program. The JV and C teams are also 6-0 to start the season.
Another second half rally
The Spartans needed a strong second half to climb to 3-0 in the Middle Border Conference last Thursday. After trailing at Baldwin-Woodville for most of the game, the Spartans got the lead in the final minute to win 34-29.
With the win, Somerset and Amery are tied atop the MBC with 3-0 records at the holiday break.
The Spartans fell behind quickly in the first quarter and spent most of the game trying to regain that ground. B-W held a 13-6 lead after a quarter and the Blackhawks led 15-13 after a quarter.
Your math is correct, B-W was held to two points in the second quarter, on two free throws. Somerset switched to a zone defense in the second quarter and it effectively shut down the Blackhawk offense the rest of the night.
The B-W defense was more effective than any other team this season in shutting down Somerset's offense.
"It was frustrating because we couldn't score," said Somerset coach Eric Olson. "They were doubling or tripling in the post. We didn't do a good job of passing out of it."
With the double and triple-team defense down low, Somerset was turning the ball over more often than usual. The Spartans committed 20 turnovers in the game.
Somerset was hamstrung because all three post players (Mike Schachtner, Mike Wishard and Andy Jackson) got into foul trouble that limited their availability.
The Spartans built their lead to three points with a minute left in the game on a pair of free throws by Adam Henzler. The Spartans added two more free throws in the final five seconds to make the lead five points.
Two big shots for the Spartans in the fourth quarter came from sophomore John Anderson. Olson said some of the strongest play for the Spartans in the fourth quarter came from junior guard Billy Raleigh, who played with good defensive intensity and didn't commit any turnovers.
Schachtner led the Spartans with seven rebounds in the game and guard Jeff Klis corralled five rebounds. Adam Henzler led the team with five assists and three steals.
The Spartans do have a game scheduled over the holiday break. Next Tuesday, Dec. 29, the Spartans will be playing at home in a non-conference game against Spooner.
Somerset 56, Boyceville 51
Henzler 3 0-2 7, Raleigh 0 0-0 0, Anderson 2 5-6 9, Wishard 0 0-0 0, Klis 0 0-0 0, Jackson 4 0-3 8, Schreiner 0 1-2 1, Schachtner 12 3-4 31. Totals 21 9-17 56.
Werner 2 2-2 6, Tape 6 1-2 15, Hoff 4 2-2 11, Filipa 3 0-0 7, Fitzwilliam 0 2-2 2, Peshaw 3 4-6 10. Totals 18 11-14 51.
Somerset 15 13 16 12 56
Boyceville 8 9 16 24 51
Three-point goals -- Henzler, Schachtner 4, Tape 2, Hoff, Filipa. Fouled out -- Wishard. Total fouls -- Somerset 13, Boyceville 14.
Somerset 34, Baldwin-Woodville 29
Henzler 2 2-2 6, Raleigh 0 1-2 1, Anderson 3 0-1 6, Wishard 1 0-0 2, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Klis 0 0-0 0, Jackson 3 1-3 7, Schachtner 5 2-4 12. Totals 14 6-12 34.
Van Roekel 1 1-2 3, Kusilek 1 0-0 2, T.Helland 0 1-2 1, Borowicz 4 3-4 14, Gleason 0 1-2 1, M.Helland 0 2-2 2, Newton 3 0-0 6. Totals 9 8-12 29.
Somerset 6 7 11 10 34
Baldwin-Woodville 13 2 7 7 29
Three-point goals -- none. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- Somerset 15, Baldwin-Woodville 13.