Marshfield’s Alex Strege (top) and Luke Zuiker both threw down dunks during the third quarter of the Tigers’ 53-44 win over Superior in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Friday night at Marshfield High School. (Photos by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
This story is sponsored by Forward Financial Bank
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – Survive and advance – it’s the mantra of every high school basketball team at this point of the season.
It doesn’t matter how, you have to win to move on and while not playing its best, the Marshfield boys basketball team did enough to defeat Superior 53-44 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Friday night at The Boson Company Fieldhouse at Marshfield High School.
Marshfield scored the first nine points of the game and although Superior rallied to within one point of the lead on three occasions, the Tigers never trailed and won their fourth-straight game and for the 11th time in their last 13 games.
Marshfield (17-6) will host Eau Claire North (7-15) in a Division 1 regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers won a nonconference game at North 40-29 just last Saturday. The game will be broadcast on WDLB-AM 1450 and wdlbwosq.com. North rallied to beat D.C. Everest 46-36 on Friday in another regional semifinal.
Superior turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter as Marshfield built a double-digit lead early.
Luke Zuiker scored five points in the opening 9-0 run and Matt Oestreich had seven straight points for the Tigers to help them to an 18-5 lead.
Carter Anderson scored in the final seconds to bring Superior to within 19-11 at the end of the first quarter and the Spartans scored the first seven points of the second to get to within a point at 19-18.
Marshfield held off two more charges from the Spartans and Tanner Boson’s 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining in the half put the Tigers up 28-24 at the break.
“We jumped out (to a big lead) and it was probably the worst thing that could happen,” Marshfield coach Bill Zuiker said. “They were ready to play. They have a scrappy team and they had a really good game plan. They want to take off a tremendous amount of time on offense and make us play defense.
“I thought that our getting out to that quick start almost put it in our kids’ minds that this won’t be too tough, and that’s a bad deal. To our guys’ credit, they made some good plays offensively and played much better defensively in the second half.”
Marshfield went up by as many as seven in the third quarter behind dunks from Alex Strege and Luke Zuiker and pushed the lead back to 12 midway through the fourth after baskets from Zuiker and Oestreich.
Superior (7-15) made just 1 of 11 shots in the fourth quarter as the Tigers pulled away.
Zuiker scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. Strege had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Oestreich also had 13 points for Marshfield.
“It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but it was, because we won,” Bill Zuiker said. “Luke can shoot the long shot, but against that 1-2-2 zone they played, he’s really effective in the 15 to 16-foot area. It was important for us to get him in that position in the second half, rather than on the perimeter.”
Tigers 53, Spartans 44
Superior 11 13 12 8 – 44
Marshfield 19 9 13 12 – 53
SUPERIOR (44): Jake Libal 1-5 1-2 4, Carter Anderson 3-7 0-0 7, Brett Lozon 3-5 0-0 7, Jon Lindberg 2-4 0-0 4, Nate Sanders 1-6 6-10 8, Matthew O’Shaughnessy 2-4 0-0 6, Connor Gray 4-7 0-0 8. FG: 16-38. FT: 7-12. 3-pointers: 5-12 (O’Shaughnessy 2-4, Libal 1-2, Lozon 1-2, Anderson 1-2, Gray 0-2). Rebounds: 19 (Lindberg 5). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none. Record: 7-15.
MARSHFIELD (53): Jeff Allison 0-4 0-0 0, Luke Zuiker 7-15 4-5 19, Tanner Boson 1-2 0-0 3, Matt Oestreich 6-8 0-2 13, Will Spindler 1-1 1-2 3, Kegan Fassler 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Strege 5-9 3-3 13, Jordan Schlinsog 0-1 2-2 2. FG: 20-40. FT: 10-14. 3-pointers: 3-15 (Zuiker 1-4, Boson 1-2, Oestreich 1-2, Allison 0-3, Strege 0-3, Schlinsog 0-1). Rebounds: 32 (Strege 11). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: none. Record: 17-6.