Hawks drop opener to Pulaski
Gerrard Diaz, email@example.com
The Shawano Community High School boys basketball team wasted no time challenging itself, hosting the reigning Division 2 state champion Pulaski Red Raiders in a nonconference game Friday to open the season.
The Hawks lost 47-39 but were competitive against a tough Pulaski squad.
“There were a couple of times where we could have packed it in and just kind of given up, but we played hard,” said coach Chris Kellett, making his debut as the Hawks’ new leader. “We cut it to two at half, cut it to four late, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
The Red Raiders (1-0) led 19-8 after the first quarter, but the Hawks allowed only four points in the second quarter. Shawano rallied and got within four with a pair of baskets by center Zeke Gueths, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, and a steal and breakaway layup by Dillon Frechette. Frechette, a senior guard, added a pair of free throws before halftime to make the game 23-21.
Pulaski opened the second half with an 11-0 run, but Shawano (0-1) was only down 37-34 early in the fourth quarter.
“We forced it a little too much,” Kellett said. “That’s what Pulaski wants us to do. They got a couple of turnovers that led to buckets for them. … Once we calmed down, we always got back into it. With a Pulaski team that is so patient, you cannot allow them to get easy buckets.”
The deliberate Red Raiders had seven turnovers to Shawano’s 11.
“We’ve got to take care of the basketball,” Kellett said. “Against Pulaski, that’s like 20 or 30 (turnovers).”
Pulaski senior Luke VanLanen, who finished with a game-high 16 points, made three of six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Shawano was led by junior Zack Sousek, who had 11 points, including a pair of 3s. Gueths finished with nine points and 12 rebounds. He also went three-for-three from the free-throw line.
As a team, Shawano shot just 34 percent from the floor, while Pulaski put in 53 percent of its shots.
Kellett saw a lot of positives in the game, especially forcing Pulaski to play zone against the Hawks’ shooters.
“They went man-to-man against us for two possessions. We scored twice in a row,” Kellett said. “They never went back to it. That’s a positive. … We knew they would be tough and we hoped to get the W, but there are a lot of positives.”
Kellett said he felt good calling the shots in his debut.
“I’m always comfortable out there coaching,” he said. “The guys have been great with me. It’s easy to coach when they play hard.”
Splan 3 0-0 8, VanLanen 6 4-9 16, Winter 4 1-1 10, Kestly 2 0-0 4, Doersch 4 0-0 9
D. Frechette 2 2-2 7, Geenen 2 1-1 5, Dallas 2 0-0 4, Sousek 3 3-4 11, Gueths 3 3-3 9, Raddant 1 0-0 3
Pulaski 19 4 14 10 — 47
Shawano 8 13 11 7 — 39