St. Croix Central boys basketball nearly puts the squeeze on Plum CityThe improving St. Croix Central boys basketball team nearly squeezed out a win against Plum City on Friday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The improving St. Croix Central boys basketball team nearly squeezed out a win against Plum City on Friday.
The Panthers overcame a slow start to play evenly with the Blue Devils for most of the second half. Plum City’s Chase Luebker was the difference maker in the final minutes, carrying the Blue Devils to a 51-42 win.
The 2-15 Panthers fell behind in the first quarter, 18-10 and they didn’t make up any of that margin in the second quarter. With six different Panthers scoring in the third quarter, they were able to tie the score several times. The score was still tied with less than three minutes remaining in the game at 40-40. That’s when Luebker hit a three-pointer.
Central missed its next shot and Plum City got the rebound. The Blue Devils then stalled out much of the remaining time, hitting several free throws in the waning seconds.
Senior guard Danny Sukowatey had a huge game to lead the Panthers Friday. His 16 points included four three-pointers, two which came in the pressurized fourth quarter. He also led Central with nine rebounds.
“He looked like a different kid,” said Central coach Zach Turpin. “You could tell he had some confidence.”
Ethan Lindahl contributed eight rebounds in Friday’s game. Tyler Lathe gave a promising performance in the post, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds.
One of the bright spots for the Panthers was their improved control of the ball. The Panthers limited their turnovers to just 10, one of their lowest totals of the season.
While Luebker scored 18 points, he only had four field goals in the game. Turpin said that was a credit to the defense played against Luebker by D.J. Haas and Alex Adkins.
The Panthers had more field goals in Friday’s game, but Plum City won the game at the free throw line. Plum City shot 28 free throws, making 15. Central made 1-2 free throws. Central was called for 20 fouls, compared to eight for Plum City.
Last Tuesday the Panthers hosted the high-flying Elk Mound Mounders, the team that has taken over the lead in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. Elk Mound has been rolling up some massive point totals this season and they did it again on Tuesday, beating the Panthers 80-43.
Turpin said the Panthers did some good things on offense, but they simply couldn’t keep pace with the free-wheeling Mounder attack. Haas led the Panthers with 13 points and Michael Nelson scored 11 points.
The Panthers will face another of the D-SC leaders this Thursday when they play at Colfax. The Panthers will be at home next Tuesday, for a Valentine’s Day clash with Boyceville.