Spencer boys basketball edges Neillsville
Lenz, Pilz top Rockets with 19 points each
By Paul Lecker
SPENCER — Jack Bezlyk’s turnaround jumper in the lane with 1:07 remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Spencer boys basketball team outlasted Neillsville 71-70 in a wild Cloverbelt Conference East Division game Thursday night at Spencer High School.
Spencer led for most of the second half before Neillsville rallied to take a 70-69 lead after a driving layup by Michael Dux with 1:36 to go.
Bezlyk responded on Spencer’s next possession, and the Rockets held on after Neillsville had two chances to regain the lead.
After a missed shot and an offensive rebound by Neillsville, Spencer regained control on a tied-up ball with the possession arrow in its favor.
Calvin Lenz, who along with Bobby Pilz led Spencer with 19 points, missed two free throws with 25 seconds left, giving Neillsville one final chance, but a 3-point attempt by Jason Kurth missed as time ran out.
“We had a really good game at Loyal (on Monday) and came up on the short end,” Spencer coach Randy Reckner said. “To get quality wins at this time of the year means a lot with the playoffs right around the corner.”
Neillsville (8-8, 8-5 Cloverbelt East) got off to a quick start as Adam Schmidt made four-straight 3-point attempts to help the Warriors build a 21-11 lead.
The Rockets (12-6, 8-5 Cloverbelt East) fought back, using a 13-2 run to go up 27-25 after a three-point play by Noah Zastrow.
The lead changed hands five times before Neillsville took a 41-38 lead into halftime.
A basket by Lenz and a 3-pointer from Jonny Tomke gave Spencer a 49-45 advantage with 15:09 remaining, and the Rockets led for the next 13 ½ minutes, going up by as much as seven and leading 65-58 after a Tomke basket with 5:25 left.
Neillsville had a 12-6 run, capped by Dux’s basket with 1:36 to go to put the Warriors up by one, but they would not score again.
“This was one of the first times where I coached a game where I really had to go over matchups almost the whole night,” Reckner said. “Calvin did a great job getting inside and scored a lot in there, and Jack hit a huge shot there at the end.
“We’re looking to get our offensive continuity going. We have Noah (Zastrow) and Aaron (Pankratz) back from injury, and know we have to work those guys into the offense. They haven’t been here most of the year, and we have to work together as a unit with those guys out there. Tonight we did a pretty good job of doing that.”
Dux led Neillsville with 20 points and nine rebounds, and Jake Kunze added 18 points and eight rebounds.
Spencer’s next game is Tuesday at home against Gilman.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Rockets 71, Warriors 70
Neillsville 41 29 – 70
Spencer 38 33 – 71
NEILLSVILLE (70): Michael Dux 9-18 1-2 20, Jake Kunze 4-7 10-11 18, Adam Schmidt 6-11 0-0 17, David Harder 3-4 0-2 6, Jason Kurth 1-8 2-2 5, Jahean Kolgore-McGee 1-1 0-0 2, Tristen Heidemann 1-1 0-0 2, Logan Matson 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Roman 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 25-50. FT: 13-17. 3-pointers: 7-19 (Schmidt 5-8, Dux 1-4, Kurth 1-7). Rebounds: 28 (Dux 9). Assists: 10 (Dux 3). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Schmidt. Record: 8-8, 8-5 Cloverbelt East.
SPENCER (71): Calvin Lenz 8-15 2-8 19, Bobby Pilz 6-14 4-5 19, Jack Bezlyk 3-5 4-4 10, Noah Zastrow 4-6 1-1 9, Ryan Busse 2-6 2-2 7, Jonny Tomke 3-6 0-1 7, Aaron Pankratz 0-2 0-0 0. FG: 28-54. FT: 13-21. 3-pointers: 6-16 (Pilz 3-8, Lenz 1-3, Busse 1-2, Tomke 1-1, Pankratz 0-1, Zastrow 0-1). Rebounds: 31 (Pilz 7). Assists: 8 (Lenz 4). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: none. Record: 12-6, 8-5 Cloverbelt East.