Columbus Catholic boys basketball starts fast to beat Spencer
Dons remain unbeaten at 11-0
By Paul Lecker
SPENCER — The Marshfield Columbus Catholic boys basketball team is undefeated, and it showed why on Thursday night at Spencer High School.
The Dons used their quickness and hot outside shooting to defeat Spencer 80-66 in a Cloverbelt Conference East Division matchup.
Columbus Catholic (11-0, 8-0 Cloverbelt East) scored the first five points of the game and never trailed.
Sophomore guard Nick Malovrh connected on five 3-pointers in the first half and led the Dons with 20 points. Four others — Hunter Schultz (19), Tyler Fuerlinger (16), Billy Young (12), and Evan Nikolai (11) — also scored in double figures for Columbus.
“I thought Nick really did a good job making sure he stepped in the opening (of Spencer’s zone) and knocked down 3s,” Columbus Catholic coach Joe Konieczny said. “I think Hunter, Tyler, Evan, and Matthias (Gouin) all did a good job of finding him when they did draw a second defender, and Evan was able to get in the high post and did a good job finding guys for a layup.
“When Nick gets hot like that, it’s kind of fun and makes things less stressful for everybody around him.”
Malovrh hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Schultz hit another to put Columbus up 20-10 a little less than eight minutes into the game.
Spencer got as close as five twice in the first half, the latest after a steal and layup by Jonny Tomke made it 36-31 with 1:47 left.
The Rockets would never get any closer. Columbus scored the first nine points of the second half and limited Spencer to just three baskets from the field during the first 9 ½ minutes to open up a commanding lead.
Schultz had a three-point play, and Nikolai added five points in 19-9 run that put Columbus up 59-43.
Spencer (6-4, 5-3 Cloverbelt East) was not able to get the deficit under double digits the rest of the game as Columbus hit the 80-point mark for the eighth time in 11 games this season.
“We were trying to move the ball fast and find our shooters with Malovrh and Schultz,” Fuerlinger said. “Everyone’s an option for our team. You can go to anyone, anytime.”
Spencer senior Bobby Pilz scored 18 points, hitting the 1,000 mark for his career with a 3-pointer at the 7:19 mark of the first half, but was held to 5-for-16 shooting as he was harassed all over the court by a relentless Columbus defense.
“Columbus is in first place for a reason,” Spencer coach Randy Reckner said. “They are very, very skilled. Their quickness really was the difference in the game. I think we’re getting better every game. We’re waiting for some kids to come back from injury, and that will give us the depth. We get them again there (Feb. 22), and we’ll see where we are then.”
Both teams return to action Tuesday. Columbus will be at Loyal in a Cloverbelt East game, and Spencer plays at Auburndale for a nonconference tilt.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Dons 80, Rockets 66
Columbus Catholic 41 39 – 80
Spencer 34 32 – 66
COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (80): Nick Malovrh 6-12 2-2 20, Hunter Schultz 6-12 6-8 19, Tyler Fuerlinger 7-15 1-2 16, Billy Young 6-8 0-1 12, Evan Nikolai 5-8 0-1 11, Matthias Gouin 1-2 0-0 2, Charles Payant 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 31-57. FT: 9-14. 3-pointers: 9-21 (Malovrh 6-12, Nikolai 1-1, Schultz 1-3, Fuerlinger 1-4, Gouin 0-1). Rebounds: 36 (Nikolai 10). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: none. Record: 11-0, 8-0 Cloverbelt East.
SPENCER (66): Bobby Pilz 5-16 6-7 18, Ryan Busse 4-13 4-6 15, Calvin Lenz 5-9 2-5 14, Jonny Tomke 5-12 0-1 12, Jack Bezlyk 2-6 0-0 4, Jacob Miller 1-1 0-0 3. FG: 22-57. FT: 12-19. 3-pointers: 10-20 (Busse 3-8, Lenz 2-3, Tomke 2-3, Pilz 2-5, Miller 1-1). Rebounds: 34 (Busse 7). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: none. Record: 6-4, 5-3 Cloverbelt East.