Columbus Dons open season at Cranberry Classic
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – After finishing second in the state in Division 5 last season, the Columbus Dons boys basketball team has opened another season. The Dons went 1-1 Nov. 29-30 at the 35th annual Cranberry Classic at Assumption High School in Wisconsin Rapids.
After winning the tournament last year, and three out of the last four, Columbus opened up the 2019-20 season with a 70-68 loss to the Port Edwards Blackhawks on Nov. 29.
The Dons led by as many as 10 in the first half, and had a six-point lead at halftime. But Port Edwards stayed close, and used a 39-31 second half to come from behind and win the game.
Tom Nystrom, known now for his clutch five three-pointers in last season’s sectional final to beat Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran, and his buzzer-beating three-pointer in a last-second win over Bangor in the Division 5 state semifinal at the Kohl Center a week later, opened up this season with a three-point basket to give the Dons the early lead. He finished the game with seven–two shy of the single-game record of nine set by Jason Hertel in the 1991-92 season.
Nystrom ended the game with 23 points. Wyatt Drexler added 18 points on six three-pointers, including five in the first half.
The Dons were just 17-for-32 from the free throw line, including 8-of-19 in the second half.
Columbus came back the following night and knocked off Assumption 58-41. Drexler scored 28 points in the win, and hit another five three-pointers. The Dons held the Royals to just 12 second-half points.
Columbus Head Coach Joe Konieczny says he likes playing at the Classic, “We love coming to this tournament. I’ve been really pleased with our experience. It’s a great way to get two quality non-conference games before we enter conference play.”
After opening conference play Dec. 3 against Colby, the Dons play at Spencer on Dec. 6. Columbus plays another non-conference game with Auburndale on Dec. 9 at Columbus High School.