By Paul Lecker
EAU CLAIRE — The Marshfield boys basketball team’s unexpected run through the WIAA playoffs came to a halt Thursday night as the Tigers fell behind early and dropped a 47-34 decision to Superior in a Division 1 sectional semifinal at Eau Claire North High School.
Marshfield shot just 31 percent and had one stretch of at least three minutes without scoring in each of the first three quarters as it never got on track, ending its season with an 8-17 record after posting two road wins to capture a regional title.
Brandon Myer scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Superior. The Spartans (21-4) move on to a WIAA Division 1 sectional final against Stevens Point (24-1), which will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday at Wausau West High School. The winner qualifies for the 2015 WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament next week in Madison.
“We had too many turnovers, many that just weren’t forced—travels, throwing the ball into hands,” Zuiker said. “I’m proud of the guys. They play really heard. They’re a great group of kids. It would have been nice to pick up a win and make a run at this because I thought the game was available for us. They turned the ball over (nine times) in the first half also, and for whatever reason we couldn’t get it going.”
Marshfield led 5-4 after a 3-pointer by Caleb Alexander, but did not score over the final four minutes of the first quarter and fell behind 10-5.
A basket by Tanner Boson and two free throws from Jordan Schlinsog brought the Tigers to within a point early in the second quarter, but again Marshfield went cold.
Superior had an 11-2 run to push its lead to double digits as the Tigers had 11 turnovers over the first 12 minutes of the game.
A 3-pointer from Alec Hinson at the first-half buzzer and another 3-pointer from Adam Fravert on Marshfield’s first possession of the second half cut the Spartans’ lead to 21-17, but that would be as close as the Tigers would get.
A Schlinsog 3-pointer was Marshfield’s only basket during a nine-minute stretch in which Superior opened its advantage to 37-21 a little more than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Marshfield got as close as 12 after a three-point play by Hinson, but Superior made 8 of 9 free throws over the final 5:18 to close out the win.
No Marshfield player made more than two baskets in the game. Schlinsog finished with eight points, Fravert had seven, and Hinson six for the Tigers.
“They are a quick team and also a physically strong team,” Zuiker said of Superior. “These kids are football players and good athletes. We didn’t block out well, and they hurt us on the offensive boards. You add all those elements together, it’s not going to be a good finish.
“We talked at halftime that they didn’t seem to want it, so go take it. But it was the same bugaboos for us. I don’t know why that returned tonight.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Spartans 47, Tigers 34
Marshfield 5 9 7 13 – 34
Superior 10 11 11 15 – 47
MARSHFIELD (34): Caleb Alexander 1-5 0-0 3, Tanner Boson 1-4 0-0 2, Derek Coffren 0-3 0-2 0, Kegan Fassler 1-2 1-1 3, Alec Hinson 2-3 1-1 6, Will Spindler 2-6 1-3 5, Jordan Schlinsog 2-5 2-2 8, Adam Fravert 2-7 2-4 7. FG: 11-35. FT: 7-13. 3-pointers: 5-19 (Schlinsog 2-5, Fravert 1-3, Hinson 1-2, Alexander 1-5, Boson 0-3, Fassler 0-1). Rebounds: 17 (Fravert 5). Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Fassler. Record: 8-17.
SUPERIOR (47): Jake Libal 2-4 0-0 5, Dustin Knutson 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Mahlum 3-10 4-4 10, Brett Lozon 2-3 4-5 8, Nate Sanders 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon Myer 7-11 1-2 16, Justin Reinkall 0-1 0-0 0, Jeb Kimmes 0-1 0-0 0, Connor Gray 3-6 2-2 8. FG: 17-38. FT: 11-13. 3-pointers: 2-7 (Libal 1-1, Myer 1-2, Knutson 0-1, Kimmes 0-1, Mehlum 0-2). Rebounds: 27 (Myer 7, Mehlum 7). Turnovers: 18. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Myer. Record: 21-4.