Eagles clinch easy season-opener

Bowler struggles with young team
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bowler High School junior Ezra Spencer drives up the court during Monday’s 99-48 season-opening loss to Menominee Indian. Spencer tallied 8 points for the Panthers.

Menominee Indian head coach James Oshkeshequoam knew this year’s team would be dominant on the court.

The Eagles proved him right with a 99-48 season-opening victory over Bowler on Tuesday at home.

“They came into this season ready to go,” Oshkeshequoam said. “They’re all very competitive and really team oriented, so that made me confident coming into the season and I think we saw that unfold tonight.”

Back-to-back Waren Wilber layups opened the nonconference match for the Eagles and Darwin King added a jumper to give them a 6-0 edge before Ezra Spencer made Bowler’s first bucket.

After a short back-and-forth, Menominee Indian went on a 8-0 run to put the Eagles ahead 32-14 midway through the half.

Spencer made a field goal for Bowler before the Eagles took the next nine points. Panthers’ Nathan Montez added a free throw and Menominee Indian’s Menom Powless drained a 3-pointer to start the Eagles on their next 7-0 run.

Anthony Crepeau hit a 3-point shot for the Panthers and Zach Fehrman added a basket, and the Eagles took the next four points to lead 59-26 at the half.

The second half was welcomed by a 3-pointer by Menominee Indian’s Nathan Frechette and Bowler added two free-throw shots before the Eagles took off on a 11-0 run to lead 75-28.

After a short back-and-forth, the Eagles let up a little and Bowler secured its longest run of the night, 10-0, over a six minute spurt from 3-point contributions by Crepeau and Fehrman.

Bowler’s (0-1) scoring ended with the run and Menominee Indian dominated the final three minutes to finish 99-48.

Bowler head coach Adam Spencer expected his young team to struggle against the Eagles with six freshmen and just one returning senior.

“We’re just young and it obviously shows when you’re up against players who have been playing since third or fourth grade like a lot of their players have,” he said. “We just didn’t come out in shape tonight, but we’re focused on getting better every day, and this shows me that I definitely need to do a better job of getting them in shape for these games.”

The difference-maker for the Eagles was how fast they were able to attack defensively. Bowler struggled to find the basket with Menominee Indian (1-0) stealing a good chunk of its opportunities.

“The guys want to play uptempo, they want to play fast,” Oshkeshequoam said. “That’s part of their competitive nature on the court, so that gives us a big advantage.”

“That was definitely huge,” Spencer said. “They really pressed us tonight and we weren’t ready.”

Both teams struggled at the line despite several opportunities. Menominee Indian finished 11 of 21 free throw attemps, and Bowler shot 10 of 20. King aided the Eagles’ 52 percent free throw percentage, shooting 3 for 3 at the line. Crepeau went 2 for 2 for the Panthers.

Wilber led Menominee Indian with 18 points, followed by Frechette and King each with 14.

Montez shot a team-high 13 points for Bowler. Fehrman followed with 11 and Spencer and Crepeau each tallied 8.

Menominee Indian (99)

Warren Wilber 2 5-8 18; Mequan Corn 2 0-0 10; Nathan Frechette 1 0-0 14; Menom Powless 1 0-2 11; Richard Wayka 0 1-3 7; Anthony Corn 4 1-2 5; Amado Bautista 2 0-0 4; Darwin King 3 3-3 14; Meshaen Waukau 1 0-0 2; Raymond Fish 2 0-0 0; Norman Kakwitch 1 1-3 14.

Bowler (48)

Ezra Spencer 3 0-4 8; Zach Fehrman 2 3-4 11; Landon Kroening 2 0-1 2; Lane Schultz 2 0-1 4; Nathan Montez 3 5-8 13; Noah Bestul 0 0-0 2; Anthony Crepeau 2 2-2 8.

Menominee Indian 59 40 —99

Bowler 26 22 —48