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By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – With just two weeks left in the regular season, the Marshfield boys basketball team is still searching for consistency.
The Tigers headed into a nonconference game Feb. 6 at Mosinee with an 8-9 record after a devastating last-second loss to D.C. Everest on Feb. 2, and how they respond to that could make or break the remainder of their season.
D.C. Everest freshman Bryan Halambeck banked home a shot from just past half court, as the buzzer sounded to lift the Evergreens to a 67-64 victory at Marshfield High School.
Two weeks ago, the Tigers were in first place in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, now with two games remaining in conference play, they are tied for third at 6-4 and out of title contention after losing three of their last four.
“Luckily it wasn’t the last game of the season,” Marshfield coach Scott Scheuer said. “We’re playing for seeding, and that certainly didn’t help us. How we respond Tuesday (against Mosinee) is going to be critical.”
Marshfield senior Seth Anderson has continued his hot streak as he poured in 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss, three days after scoring 36 points in a 77-70 win over Merrill on Jan. 30.
Anderson is averaging 23 points per game and with five regular-season games and at least one playoff game, has a chance at the all-time single-season scoring record of 540 points. He stood with 390 points after the loss to Everest.
As hot as the Tigers were in the win over Merrill, they struggled to find continuity throughout much of the game against Everest.
Despite that, it was a close game throughout.
The lead changed hands five times before Everest pulled out to a 40-37 halftime lead, after Halambeck scored on three-straight possessions and John Reigel made a 3-pointer with 8 seconds to go for Marshfield.
The lead went back-and-forth six times as neither team led by more than three during the first 11 minutes of the second half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Halambeck and Ethan Ostrowski gave the Evergreens a 61-57 lead with 5:15 remaining.
Marshfield didn’t score a basket from the field in the final 9:25, but stayed in the game scoring nine points on 14 attempts at the free throw line. Those misses, however, proved costly.
“You have to take care of the little things,” Scheuer said. “It wasn’t the last shot; it was the missed free throws, the turnovers, and the empty possessions that we had before that.
“The things we did at Merrill (in a 77-70 victory), we didn’t do here. We missed free throws and we had 13 turnovers in the first half.”
Marshfield will use the final few weeks to try to straighten things out and find that consistency it has been lacking.
The Tigers play at Wausau West on Feb. 9, host Chippewa Falls on Feb. 12, and wrap up the regular-season with games at Wausau West on Feb. 16 and Eau Claire Memorial on Feb. 20.
The WIAA playoffs begin Feb. 27.
“We dial up whatever we think we need to, and that’s not going to get it done. We’re just not good enough,” Scheuer said. “We’re practicing with time off the clock per possession, running some sets and trying not to rely on just one guy, using our motion offense. Maybe it’s just trying to get the right guys on the floor.”
Paul Lecker is the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.