The Somerset and St. Croix Central boys took on challenging non-conference opponents in their basketball games on Friday.

Central suffered its first loss of the season, putting up an impressive battle in facing Hudson, in a 66-49 loss. Somerset rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat Grantsburg, 72-57.

A halftime defensive change helped turn Friday’s game in Somerset’s favor as Somerset defeated Grantsburg 72-57 in a homecourt non-conference game.

Grantsburg’s 6-5 center, Jared VanWaterMeulen, couldn’t be stopped during the first half when the Spartans were trying to deny him the ball. Somerset coach Troy Wink said the Spartans played behind VanWaterMeulen in the second half. Then, whenever he got the ball in his hands, the Spartans swarmed him like angry bees, limiting his chances for short-range shots. Wink said senior Ben Rybacki led the Spartans’ defensive effort against VanWaterMeulen in the second half.

Somerset trailed 36-33 at halftime, before limiting the Pirates to 21 points in the second half. Offensively, the Spartans again had excellent balance, which made them difficult to defend. Somerset had five players score in double figures. That was led by senior Ty Madden, who found his outside shooting touch. He scored 21 points, including five 3-pointers.

Trae Kreibich finished with 17 points. Melvin Ortiz and Jack Cook finished with 11 points and Tate Pitcher scored 10 points.

Wink said several of the Spartans had their scoring come in bunches. Cook did most of his damage on drives to the hoop in the first half. Ortiz had a flurry in the second half with two transition hoops and a 3-ball when the Spartans broke the game open in the second half.

The Spartans have played a challenging non-conference schedule and that continues next week. On Friday, Jan. 10, the Spartans will host Barron.