Witt-Birn trails early to fall to Shiocton in a CWC-East matchup

Chargers 1-5 on the road this season

Greg Bates Leader Correspondent

It was a hole that the Wittenberg-Birnamwood boys basketball team couldn’t dig itself out from.

The Chargers trailed by as many as 23 points to Shiocton in the second half but cut their deficit to 13. However, Shiocton pulled away for an 88-67 victory in Central Wisconsin Conference-East play on Friday night.

Witt-Birn, which is now 1-5 on the road this season, was down 17-2 out of the gate.

“We’re just not mentally ready when we step onto the floor,” Witt-Birn coach Lon Ebel said. “I thought we played scared, we didn’t play smart. We let Shiocton’s pressure take us out of our game and we didn’t execute anything offensively for the first 15 minutes of the game.”

The Chargers had a tough time offensively in the opening half, scoring just 19 points. The team’s leading scorer on the season, Trevor Groshek, was held to just two points. He exploded for 21 second-half points.

“We didn’t score a whole lot of points as a team, but again, it comes down to execution, and their pressure took us out of what we wanted to do offensively,” Ebel said. “We took some really bad shots early on, I thought.”

Shiocton used its zone defense and length on the inside to give Witt-Birn fits. Missed shots and turnovers were commonplace in the opening half for the Chargers.

“I think our defensive intensity in the first half really sets a tone,” Shiocton coach Chad Schmidt said. “Before you really start to get fatigued overall, you’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to play fast — we did. You could see it. We got up 20 on them at half.”

Shiocton (9-3, 4-1 conference) jumped out to its 17-2 advantage before Witt-Birn (6-5, 2-3) could get going. The Chargers got hoops from Cory Fraaza and Ian Zeinert, and Fraaza nailed a 3-pointer to make it 20-9 with 8:49 left in the first half. The Chiefs responded with a 14-2 run and went into halftime up 41-19.

Witt-Birn’s deficit reach 23 points, 45-22, before it started to chip away. The Chargers went on an 11-2 run as Groshek hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 54-41. Shiocton was just too strong inside and pushed the lead back to 20, 70-50.

The Chargers had their shot to make a move down 13.

“We’re capable of doing it, but we have to do it for 36 minutes,” Ebel said. “If we’re only going to play a half, we’re not going to win basketball games.”

Shiocton got 48 points combined from its three big men – Austin Vanden Bosch (25), Corbin Lorge (15) and Wesley Brouillard (8). They dominated the inside.

“I thought we really got hurt on the offensive glass,” Ebel said. “We’ve got to play more physical, we’ve got to play with more position, we’ve got to keep our feet moving. That’s a mindset and something we didn’t do a very good of tonight.”

Witt-Birn had won three of its previous four games coming into Shiocton, but took a step back. Ebel is looking for consistency out of his team.

“We’ve just got to get some momentum going,” Ebel said. “It seems like we can’t ever get in a stretch. We’ll have a couple good games then we’ll have one like this where we don’t show up.”

Wittenberg-Birnamwood (67)

Wesolowski 2-2 2, Kapitz 0-0 3, Kerstner 0-0 9, Fraaza 3-5 17, Szews 5-7 9, Groshek 0-0 23, Zeinert 2-2 4.

Shiocton (88)

Bedor 11-17 27, Peterson 3-3 8, Schmidt 2-2 2, Herrmann 1-2 1, Brouillard 2-2 8, Ott 1-2 3, Lorge 6-6 15, Vanden Bosch 3-6 15.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood 19 48 — 67

Shiocton 41 47 — 88