The Somerset boys are hoping for a third chance at Prescott in the 2019-20 basketball season.
The Spartans lost to Prescott, 88-76, in Middle Border Conference action on Thursday in Prescott. This leaves Prescott tied with New Richmond at the top of the MBC standings, while Somerset is now tied for third place with St. Croix Central with 7-4 records.
The problem for Somerset Thursday, was the same as it has been for every one of Prescott’s opponents this season: how to stop Parker Nielsen and Jacob Doffing. Nielsen finished with 27 and Doffing 25 in Thursday’s game.
This was the eighth time Somerset has scored more than 70 points in a game this season. The only other loss among those games was an 87-85 double-overtime setback against St. Croix Falls in the second game of the season.
“Seventy-six points most nights will get you a win,” said Somerset coach Troy Wink, but the 88 points scored by Prescott are the most points the Spartans have surrendered in a game this season.
The game was close for the first seven minutes, with Somerset leading 10-9. Prescott was able to get separation, building the lead to 27-17 and 48-31 by halftime.
Prescott was able to build the lead as high as 24 points in the second half. The Spartans then began to make headway against Prescott’s starters, cutting the lead back to 12 points.
Somerset lost to Prescott by 27 points when they met in the first half of the MBC schedule and Wink said he thought there was discernible progress. The Spartans were able to score 76 points without point guard Melvin Ortiz, who was out sick all week. Tate Pitcher started in his place.
The Spartans were able to compete in the game because of balanced scoring. Trae Kreibich scored 19 points and Jack Cook finished with 17, 15 of them in the second half. Ty Madden scored 16 and Mason Cook had his highest point total of the season, finishing with 15. Madden and Mason Cook each grabbed seven rebounds to share the team lead.
Wink said the message at halftime was, be willing to challenge Prescott in the paint.
“We told the kids, ‘let’s put up a fight,’ and we did that. We got the ball into the lane and we were stronger at the basket,” Wink said.
Next week is important for the Spartans in terms of the MBC standings, and also for placement in the WIAA seeding process. The Spartans will play at home on Tuesday, Feb. 18, against Ellsworth and they will play at St. Croix Central on Friday, Feb. 21. Two wins next week would help greatly in the Spartans’ hopes of gaining a high seed, and possibly a reunion with Prescott.