Panthers lose first game

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Oconto Falls loses to Bonduel
By: 

Gerrard Diaz Sports editor


Leader Photo by Gerrard Diaz

Oconto Falls High School guard Alex Young takes a shot over a Bonduel defender during Thursday’s nonconference game in Bonduel. OFHS lost 68-52.

The Oconto Falls High School boys basketball team came up short, 68-52, in a nonconference game against Bonduel on Thursday in Bonduel.

The Panthers (0-1) fell behind early, trailing 15-2 halfway through the first quarter, as Bonduel (2-0) got 3-pointers from Zach Zernicke and Connor Rosin.

“I think they came out scared,” Oconto Falls High School coach Kirk Hirst said. “They played real scared; you could see it in their face. I think they took these guys for granted. We went and watched them at Gillett, and we thought we would walk all over them.”

Oconto Falls was limited in the first half after 6-foot-5 forward Riley Gruetzmacher went to the bench with two early fouls. The Panthers were held to just six points in the first quarter and 15 points in the first half.

“It hurts having Riley on the bench,” Hirst said. “You could tell that in the second half. He’s a big player for us.”

Gruetzmacher returned in the second half to score 10 points. Alex Young led the team with 18 points.

Zernicke scored 20 points for Bonduel. Hunter VanderLinden added 11.

Zernicke, a 6-foot-4 senior, had 10 of his 20 points by the end of the first quarter.

Bonduel’s 40-15 halftime lead dwindled midway through the third quarter. Oconto Falls outscored Bonduel 16-7 in the third quarter to get within 16 at 47-31.

The Bears, though, battled even with the Panthers in the fourth, maintaining a double-digit lead throughout.

“We probably played as well as we could in the first half,” Bonduel coach Duke Copp said. “It’s hard to maintain that intensity. We talked about it. (Oconto Falls) came out fired up.”

Copp said Oconto Falls’ size advantage — all of the Panthers’ starters are over 6-foot tall — could have been a problem for his team.

“I was nervous tonight,” Copp said. “That’s a huge team. They play hard, but our kids executed and hit big shots. I’m really proud of them tonight.”

Hirst said the Panthers need to get more production from supporting players.

“We had two guys who didn’t do a lot for us tonight,” Hirst said. “Three or four guys who didn’t do a lot. We’ve got to play as a team.”

Oconto Falls (52)

Gruetzmacher 4 2-4 10, Woosmann 3 1-3 7, Salscheider 2 2-3 6, Sefcik 1 0-0 2, Young 6 3-4 18, Shroyer 2 1-2 6, Kowalczyk 0 1-2 1, Fiedler 1 0-0 2

Bonduel (68)

Zernicke 8 3-3 20, Pedersen 2 3-4 7, Rosin 3 1-2 9, Shoup 1 0-0 2, Mathew 3 0-0 6, Berry 0 4-6 4, VanderLinden 5 1-4 11, Dobratz 3 0-0 8, Acker 0 1-2 1

Oconto Falls 6 9 16 21 — 52

Bonduel 22 18 7 21 — 68