Successful teams find ways to win, even when they aren’t playing their best.
That’s what the Somerset boys did Friday against Barron. The Spartans led 5-1, then didn’t lead again until the overtime period. The Spartans got a lead and held it in the overtime to win 72-65 in the non-conference game played in Somerset.
“We’d rather sit here with an ugly win than a pretty loss,” Somerset coach Troy Wink said following the game.
Somerset and Barron are in the same WIAA regional tournament bracket, so this game carried plenty of importance for seeding purposes.
Much of the regulation portion of Friday’s game saw Barron building up leads and Somerset’s scratching its way back to get even. Barron led throughout the first half, but a rainbow 3-pointer from Somerset’s Trae Kreibich managed to pull the Spartans into a 27-27 tie at the halftime buzzer.
Almost immediately, Barron rebuilt its lead in the second half. The margin grew as large as 12 points and it still was at eight points with five minutes remaining. Barron led 56-51 before the Spartans scored seven straight points to lead 58-56, with a three-pointer from Kreibich giving Somerset the lead. Barron re-tied the game with 20 seconds left, forcing the overtime.
Melvin Ortiz scored off the opening tip of the overtime and the Spartans never trailed in the extra period. Kreibich’s third 3-ball of the night put the Spartans in the lead for good.
Ty Madden led the Spartans with 21 points and Jack Cook finished with 17. Kreibich ended with 15 and Ortiz with 11. This was the second straight game where all four of them scored in double figures. Madden and Mason Cook led the Spartans with five rebounds apiece and Ortiz had three assists to lead the team.
Wink said the players deserved credit for keeping their focus in a game where nothing seemed to be working ideally.
Somerset’s boys rarely get to face teams from the Big Rivers Conference, so Tuesday’s 78-64 win was a big step for the basketball program.
Somerset played an exceptional second half after trailing 44-42 at halftime. The turnabout began late in the first half, where the Spartans trailed by as many as 12 points.
The Spartans had to do something drastic, because it seemed like Rice Lake couldn’t miss. The Warriors drained 12 3-pointers in the first half. So the Spartans switched to full-court pressure and a halfcourt zone defense that put more pressure on Rice Lake’s perimeter shooters.
In the second half, the Spartans were able to spread Rice Lake’s defense, which opened seams that the Spartans attacked. Rice Lake finished the game with 15 3-pointers, compared to three for the Spartans. The Spartans didn’t need the perimeter approach, because they worked to the rim all night.
That was led by Madden, who finished with 25 points. None of his points came from the arc. Jackson Cook finished with 16 points, also the result of numerous drives into the paint.
The Spartans did have good scoring distribution. Kreibich finished with 15 points and Ortiz scored 11 points. The team approach also applied to rebounding. Ortiz and Mason Cook both grabbed eight rebounds, with Madden and Jackson Cook accounting for six rebounds each. Ortiz also led the Spartans with four assists.
There’s another non-conference game on the schedule for the Spartans this Friday when they host Stanley-Boyd.