Marshfield's Matt Oestreich looks inside for a teammate around Rhinelander's Mitch Reinthaler during the Tigers' 64-55 win on Tuesday night at Marshfield High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
This story is sponsored by: Valley Communities Credit Union
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield boys basketball team had to stew for a week following a loss at the buzzer to Wausau East.
The Tigers responded with a solid 64-55 nonconference win over Rhinelander on Tuesday night at Marshfield High School, ending a mini two-game losing skid.
Marshfield overcame a three-point deficit at the end of the first quarter, using a 12-4 run to take the lead it would never relinquish.
Rhinelander made push after push but the Tigers weathered the storm each time to improve to 14-7 on the season. The Hodags fall to 14-6.
“It was exactly what we needed,” Marshfield coach Craig Michaelis said. “I thought it was a good, solid, workmanlike performance against a really good Rhinelander team. I was impressed with their athleticism and how hard they played.”
Elliot Ashbeck scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Tigers and Rhinelander trailed blows, with Marshfield maintaining its lead that pushed from four early to 12 late in the period.
Ashbeck passed former teammate Cale Zuiker into fifth place on the school’s all-time scoring list. Ashbeck stands with 922 career points, 13 behind Jeff Wagner (1981-84), who is in fourth on the list. Zuiker, who played from 2008-11, had 900 points in his stellar career at Marshfield.
“We had a whole week off and I think it took us a little bit to get back in the flow,” Ashbeck said. “It wasn’t a smooth win by any means, but I think it was a good, gritty win for us and gets us back on the right track heading into Thursday and the playoffs.”
Sophomore Luke Zuiker scored all 17 of his points in the first half, drilling four 3-pointers. He hit three shots from long range and had 12 points in the second quarter as the Tigers pulled out to a 30-26 lead at halftime.
The teams traded basket throughout much of the third quarter as Marshfield’s lead bounced between two and six points. Isaac Accola’s layup at the buzzer gave the Tigers a 42-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Marshfield made 12 of 16 free throws and 5 of 7 field goals to score 22 points and keep the Hodags just out of striking distance.
Sophomore Matt Oestreich came off the bench to score all eight of his points in the second half, giving the Tigers a boost as Zuiker and Ashbeck were both in foul trouble.
“Elliot was his usual steady self tonight, but Luke Zuiker has been coming along and he’s been aggressive on the offensive end,” Michaelis said. “He’s made it really hard for teams to pick and choose who you are going to defend.
“Luke had a really nice first half and Elliot picked up from there in the second half. It’s nice to see that and it’s nice to see Tanner (Dennis-Brown) give us good minutes off the bench and I think a guy that’s really come along is Matt Oestreich. In the last five, six, seven games he’s really starting to develop confidence.”
Marshfield wraps up its regular season Thursday at Wisconsin Rapids and then will have eight days to strategize for a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal against Wausau East – and with a win, a rematch with conference champion D.C. Everest.
“We kind of have a nothing-to-lose mentality,” Ashbeck said. “We’ve got the four seed, conference is determined, so there’s nothing out there to prove other than to get as deep as you can. We know we can hang with any team we can play so we want to go out there and prove it and hopefully make a pretty good run.”
Tigers 64, Hodags 55
Rhinelander 15 11 10 19 – 55
Marshfield 12 18 12 22 – 64
RHINELANDER (55): Adam Piasecki 2-3 0-0 6, Brad Kenote 2-5 2-5 6, Nate Schoone 0-2 0-0 0, Shane White 6-11 2-2 14, Ryan Morris 1-2 1-2 3, Colton Volkmann 3-6 0-0 7, Mitch Reinthaler 1-3 3-4 5, Kyle Comer 3-5 2-3 8, Brett Matthews 2-10 1-2 6. FG: 20-45. FT: 11-18. 3-pointers: 4-12 (Piasecki 2-3, Matthews 1-1, Volkmann 1-3, Comer 0-2, Kenote 0-2, Reinthaler 0-1). Rebounds: 22 (Reinthaler 4). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: none. Record: 14-6.
MARSHFIELD (64): Luke Olson 1-4 0-0 2, Elliot Ashbeck 7-14 9-10 24, Isaac Accola 1-3 1-2 3, Matt Oestreich 2-4 4-6 8, Luke Zuiker 6-9 1-2 17, Tanner Dennis-Brown 2-3 0-0 4, Brandon Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Ben Satter 1-2 2-4 4. FG: 21-41. FT: 17-24. 3-pointers: 5-12 (Zuiker 4-5, Ashbeck 1-3, Olson 0-3, Accola 0-1). Rebounds: 22 (Zuiker 4, Dennis-Brown 4). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none. Record: 14-7.