Improving Spartan boys get first MBC basketball winWinning in Durand is never easy and last Tuesday’s 67-65 win by the Somerset boys basketball team in Durand is a reflection of the Spartans’ improvement.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Winning in Durand is never easy and last Tuesday’s 67-65 win by the Somerset boys basketball team in Durand is a reflection of the Spartans’ improvement.
Over the weekend the Spartans fell short against two well established programs, from Baldwin-Woodville and Webster.
The win in Durand last Tuesday showed the Spartans playing well in all facets of their game. They took the lead early and held a lead of 4-6 points most of the game. The lead grew to as much as 10 points.
Somerset coach Brent Larson was impressed with the energy the Spartans played with at Durand. With several players out of the lineup, the rest of the team stepped up. Sophomore point guard Tyler Ledbeter finished with 17 points and five steals.
“He was very aggressive going to the rim,” Larson said.
Junior center Ryan Himes played one of his best games, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds as he was extremely active in the paint on both ends of the court.
Senior guard Danny Sheridan scored 13 points for the Spartans. His three-point shooting in the first half loosened up the Durand defense, with Sheridan nailing four threes in the first half.
On Friday the Spartans went to Baldwin and couldn’t keep pace with the Blackhawks’ quickness around the perimeter. The Blackhawks won Friday’s game 63-45.
The Spartans played a solid first period, trailing 12-10 at the end of the quarter. B-W’s quickness produced a number of open looks around the three-point arc and the Blackhawks took full advantage. The Blackhawks hit five three-pointers in the second quarter, helping them to pull ahead by a 37-21 score by halftime.
The Blackhawks’ depth at guard showed on defense too. The Blackhawks forced the Spartans into 22 turnovers, meaning they turned the ball over on one-third of their possessions without getting a shot away. In the Spartans’ first nine possessions of the game, the Spartans hit all three of the shots they were able to produce. Their other six possessions in that stretch ended in turnovers.
Freshman Gaelin Elmore was the bright light for the Spartans in Friday’s game. He led the team with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jack Emmert, the other freshman on the varsity, scored nine points.
The Spartans had to turn around and play again on Saturday afternoon, in a non-conference game against Webster. Webster jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the Spartans found their legs. The Spartans made it a game, cutting the lead to one point in the fourth quarter, before losing 50-43.
Webster made it to the WIAA sectional finals last year, so the Spartans knew they had a tough assignment on Saturday. Webster was led by seniors Austin Elliott and Jack Wetherm, who were key players on the sectional team last year. That duo combined for 27 points on Saturday.
Sophomore Luke Praschak came off the bench to give the Spartans excellent energy on Saturday, finishing with a team-high 12 points.
“I thought he played his best game for us,” Larson said.
Elmore scored 10 points on Saturday and led the team in rebounds.
Larson said the Spartans’ inexperience shows in the team’s inconsistency. He said the inconsistency not only shows from game-to-game, but within games. He said as the team grows, he expects to see more accountable efforts from the Spartans in each game.
The Spartans face a drastically busy weekend. On Friday the Spartans play at undefeated New Richmond. The boys start next week with a pair of non-conference games. On Monday the Spartans will play at Grantsburg. They get on the buses again 24 hours later for a game in Spooner.