It has become the calling card of the Somerset boys basketball team and it was the key to the Spartans' first Middle Border Conference win of the season. The Spartans and Baldwin-Woodville waged a gritty battled that went down to the final buzzer.
B-W tried a shot as the buzzer sounded, but it was off the mark. That allowed Somerset to record its first Middle Border Conference win of the season, 42-40. The win evens Somerset's overall record at 3-3.
Both teams took turns holding the lead during the game. Somerset led 24-20 at halftime, but B-W came back to take the lead early in the second half. Somerset then made a push, holding the lead for the final five minutes of the game. The Spartans had chances to seal the win, but the Spartans missed free bonus free throws in the final minutes. Somerset coach Taylor Germain said free throws, particularly in pressurized situations, is one area where the Spartans need quick improvement.
The Spartan offense is still a work in progress. They were able to have stretches of success, led by sophomore Ty Madden, who scored a game-high 14 points.
"He's becoming more comfortable, more confident, being a more versatile type player," Germain said. "He's definitely a solid shooter."
The Spartans also got a career-high 10 points from Dylan Sayers, giving the team more of an offensive threat in the paint.
Will Piletich and Melvin Medina Ortiz hit key three-pointers for the Spartans to help the team retain the lead in the second half.
The offense only needed to score 42 points because the Spartans played another credible defensive game. This was the fourth time in the past five games that the Spartans have held their opponents to 43 points or less.
"We played good team defense. That's the reason we won," Germain said.
The Spartans played very strong defense last Tuesday, but the offense went long stretches with no success. That led to a 34-24 loss at Osceola.
Somerset led 12-6 in the first half, but then the offense went stagnant. With little movement within the offense, Osceola put high pressure on the players with the ball. It caused a number of turnovers, as the Spartans went more than 10 minutes without scoring to end the first half. By then, the 12-6 lead had turned into a 12-19 deficit.
The second half saw both teams struggling to score. With two minutes remaining, Somerset had Osceola's lead down to six points. The Spartans were forced to foul and Osceola made enough free throws to pull away.
Madden was Somerset's only offensive threat at Osceola. He scored 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the first half. No other Spartan scored more than three points in the loss.
The Spartans will be on the road this Thursday for a non-conference game at Boyceville. The Spartans will also head into Dunn County for games next Wednesday and Thursday when they play in the annual Glenwood City Invitational. The Spartans will face Glenwood City at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 27. Somerset will face unbeaten Clear Lake at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 28.