Marshfield’s Isaac Accola tries to get past Stevens Point’s Jon Barnes during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Wisconsin Valley Conference boys basketball game at Marshfield High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
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By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – Three weeks ago, the Marshfield boys basketball team took Stevens Point Area Senior High to the wire, but came up a basket short.
So when the two teams met up again on Tuesday at the Marshfield High School Fieldhouse, the Tigers played with no fear of the once-beaten and 10th-ranked Panthers.
Trailing by as many as five late in the third quarter and by four with just 4:30 to go, Marshfield rallied and knocked off SPASH 60-53 in a Wisconsin Valley Conference game.
The Tigers closed the game on a 15-4 run to send Point to its first Valley loss. Marshfield improves to 10-7 overall and 6-3 in the conference, while SPASH drops to 17-2 and 8-1 in the WVC.
“It’s very, very exciting for our guys,” Marshfield coach Bill Zuiker said. “You try to tell the guys that you have nothing to lose. We aren’t going to win the league, SPASH is going to win the league, we can improve our seed position, maybe, but more than anything else it was a chance to lay it out there and let’s see what we can do.
“I’m really proud on how they put themselves in a position to make it exciting, to make it a close game and obviously get the win.”
Marshfield led 14-12 after one quarter before the Panthers pulled ahead late in the second. Sam Hauser scored on four straight possessions for SPASH as it built a five-point lead. The Panthers took a 28-26 lead into halftime.
Point’s lead fluctuated between two and five points in the third quarter before Isaac Accola and Alex Strege scored for the Tigers to cut it to one.
The Panthers were able to push the lead back to four midway through the fourth at 49-45, but they made only one basket over the final 4:30.
Matt Oestreich scored and Luke Olson drilled a 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 50-49.
After a three-point play by Trevor Anderson put SPASH back on top, Olson responded with a basket to tie it and that sparked a 10-0 run that saw the Tigers pull away.
Accola and Luke Zuiker each made a basket and two free throws during the run. SPASH missed four straight shots before making a free throw with 1.8 seconds to finish the scoring.
“We thought we had a really good chance coming in tonight,” Luke Zuiker said. “We lost by two points at their place and we didn’t even score in the second quarter, so we knew we could stay with them and compete with them.”
Zuiker finished with 22 points, 17 coming in the second half. Olson and Accola each added 14 for the Tigers.
Hauser made all seven of his field goal attempts and had a team-high 15 points for SPASH.
“Practice has been up-beat, it was really up-beat yesterday,” Luke Zuiker said. “It’s the best time to get hot – tournament time is coming up – so I think we’re going to make a run at this.”
Marshfield hosts D.C. Everest at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Tigers 60, Panthers 53
Stevens Point 12 16 14 11 – 53
Marshfield 14 12 13 21 – 60
STEVENS POINT (53): George Diekelman 3-8 2-2 8, Eric Zelhofer 3-8 0-0 7, Jon Barnes 0-1 0-0 0, Sam Hauser 7-7 0-0 15, Trevor Anderson 4-10 4-5 13, Ryan Sullivan 3-7 1-2 8, Sean Van Helden 0-1 0-0 0, Aaron Nickel 1-1 0-0 2. FG: 21-43. FT: 7-9. 3-pointers: 4-15 (Hauser 1-1, Zelhofer 1-5, Anderson 1-4, Sullivan 1-5). Rebounds: 16 (Sullivan 5). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: none. Record: 17-2, 8-1 Wisconsin Valley Conference.
MARSHFIELD (60): Jeff Allison 0-0 0-0 0, Isaac Accola 4-6 5-5 14, Matt Oestreich 3-6 0-0 6, Luke Zuiker 7-12 5-5 22, Luke Olson 4-7 4-4 14, Tanner Dennis-Brown 0-2 0-2 0, Alex Strege 2-5 0-0 4, Caleb Alexander 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 20-36. FT: 14-16. 3-pointers:5-11 (Zuiker 2-3, Olson 2-4, Accola 1-2, Oestreich 0-2). Rebounds: 18 (Strege 6, Accola 5). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: 13. Record: 10-7, 6-3 Wisconsin Valley Conference.