Back on Track: Marauders oust Chargers
By Ross Pattermann
MARSHFIELD – There’s no place like home; that was certainly the case for the UW-Marshfield Marauders on Jan. 23, when the Marauders hosted the UW-Barron County Chargers.
The Marauders picked up a confidence building, 54-34 win over their West Wisconsin Collegiate Conference rivals, in a game where the Marauders dominated every statistical category that mattered.
It also snapped a seven game losing skid that improves the Marauder’s record to 4-8.
“It helps a lot,” head coach Jared Ystad said about the win. “It’s motivation going forward; it’s the first win in awhile, and for this group of guys. It shows us that if we play together, and play a team game for a full 40 minutes, we can get wins like this.”
After a fast start to the season, in which the Marauders won three of their first four games, attrition hit the team hard.
“We got off to a fast start at this year and then we kinda had some turnover with our guys, so we’ve been battling through a lot,” Ystad said. “We ended up dropping down to five guys.”
The Marauders picked up a sixth man in Nic Kuhn recently, but the Chargers came in with size up front, featuring a pair of power forwards in Ryan and Riley Hanson who stand 6’6″ and 6’7″.
The size looks imposing on paper, but during the game the Marauders showed the Chargers who the boss really was, winning the battle down low.
“We played them before so I knew what they were going to bring to the table,” second year forward Jared Seemann said. “They’re tall, but they’re not very strong. They like to finesse the shots, so I knew if I could body them up and get big down there, I could push them out of the paint.”
The Marauders fought for every loose ball, and darted and flew around the court as they chased the Chargers off the perimeter. Only Mikienen Rinehart finished in double digits for the Chargers. Rinehart led the Chargers with 15 points, but could only watch as Marshfield out rebounded Barron County 49-38.
The Chargers took an early 10-6 lead, but the Marauders bounced back at the tail end of the first half, and went on a 21-5 run that was keyed by a monster game from first year player Jack Bezlyk. Bezlyk displayed all his skills in each half, finishing with a game high 22 points and 26 rebounds.
The Marauders went into the locker room with 27-15 advantage.
In the second half, Darren Kieffer hit a clutch pair of threes, as part of a night where he shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc. Kuhn hit home for two more, and the Marauders put on a run that saw them go up by as many as 25 points.
Kieffer finished with 12 points, Seemann had eight points, nine boards, and five assists, Nic Kuhn buried two threes and scored eight points and Trey Rau pitched in with four points and a team high seven assists.
The Marauders are now in a two-way tie with the UW-Baraboo Fighting Spirits in the WCC West division.
Three more games await the Marauders, including a Feb. 6 home game against Baraboo that could well determine the postseason.
“This boosts morale big time,” Seemann said with a grin. “We’re ready and we’re hyped to go through the rest of the season. We’re looking to get a home game playoff game, the two-seed in the conference is a minimum and we definitely think we can do after a game like this.”