Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Strong 2nd Half Lifts Bow Past Mascenic

Teams in Division III boys basketball are winding down their regular seasons and gearing up for the tournament. Who is playing hot and who is not as we head into the tourney? We're finding out right now.

On Wednesday night it was a showdown with Mascenic traveling to Bow on senior night. Coming into this game Mascenic was 12-5, while Bow was only 6-10. So Mascenic was clearly the favorite, right? Wrong.

Bow outscored the Vikings 35-15 in the 2nd half, winning in convincing fashion by a final score of 55-34. It was an even match-up in the 1st half, with Bow leading 20-19 at the break. But in the 2nd half the Falcons executed better, they shared the basketball, they played with more intensity, more fire - they wanted it more.

Leading the way for Bow was senior guard Shane Wunderli (scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the 2nd half) and senior guard Adam Nelson (scored 14 of his 16 points in the 2nd half.Both Wunderli and Nelson attacked the basket, finished well inside and also showed the ability to knock down the outside shot. They both came up big on senior night.

Bow led 20-19 after a back-and-forth 1st half which had 3 ties and 5 lead changes. Mascenic senior forward Cooper Wayrynen (team-high 12 points) made a nice weak side block early in the 3rd quarter. On the other end Nelson made a nice blocked shot of his own from behind. Then a a jumper by Wayrynen put Mascenic back on top 21-20. That was followed by senior forward Roman Ojala dishing it inside to Wayrynen for a layup to make it 23-20 Vikings.

That's when Bow took over. From that point on, they outscored the Vikings 35-11. Now that's domination! The Falcons' run got started with a 3-pointer by Nelson. He has been Bow's leading scorer for the past 2 seasons, but was held to just 2 points in the 1st half. That 3-pointer got him going though, as he drove the lane and hit a leaner to put Bow back on top 25-23 and then drained another 3 ball off the catch from the corner to extend the Falcons' lead to 28-23. That's 8 consecutive points by Nelson.

Wayrynen answered by by hitting an 18-footer. But then sophomore guard Ryan Andrews (7 points off the bench) nailed a pull-up jumper from 15-feet to make it 33-25 Bow with 1:16 left in the 3rd quarter and force Mascenic to call a timeout. Out of the timeout 6-foot-4 junior forward Nate Alford finished strong inside on 2 defenders, and it was 35-27 Bow after 3 quarters.

Nelson took over in the 3rd quarter for Bow, but in the 4th it was Wunderli's turn. He made a nice slash to the rim for 2, and then made another strong drive to the rim for an and-1 finish. The Falcons now had a commanding 40-29 lead with just 5:38 left in the 4th quarter.

Senior guard Chase Holombo (9 points on three 3's) hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to try and keep Mascenic in it. But then Vikings standout guard Brett Stauffeneker (7 points) fouled out, Wunderli made another strong finish inside through contact and Nelson scored 2 more on the fast-break. That made it 49-32 Bow with 2:40 left in regulation. Falcons head coach Chris Gaudreau took out his starters, and Bow cruised to the 55-34 win.

Mascenic ends their regular season on a 2 game losing streak, with both losses being by 15 points or more. Meanwhile, Bow has won 3 in a row and finishes up their regular season Friday night at Campbell.

Prior to the game, Bow honored their four seniors - Wunderli, Nelson, Bradley Zahensky and Michael Malette.

Once the game got started the two teams battled it out. Alford showed good toughness inside, fighting for an offensive rebound and put-back. Wunderli connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key off the catch. Then on defense Wunderli made a nice block. Then Bow fed Alford again in the low post, he made the layup and it was 7-0 Falcons.

Mascenic countered with an 8-0 run of their own. Holombo sunk back-to-back 3's from the right corner, Stauffeneker hit a pair of free throws and just like that the Vikings are on top 8-7. Mascenic was playing a 2-3 zone defense, which slowed the game (and the Bow offense) down. Wunderli pushed it hard up the floor in transition from 3/4 court all the way to the rim for 2, as the Falcons went back ahead 9-8. It was 11-8 Bow after 1 quarter.

In the 2nd quarter is when the ties and lead changes really started happening, making for an exciting quarter of high school basketball. Stauffeneker drained a 3-pointer from the corner off a kick-out to tie it up 11-11. On the next trip down the floor Stauffeneker slashed right through the Bow defense and got to the rim for 2, putting the Vikings back ahead 13-11.

Bow put on a full court press to try and pick up the pace of the game. They got a quick steal with it, which led to a layup by Nelson. Wayrynen hit a runner in the lane, tying it up 15-15. Then Falcons junior forward Brendan Winch made a nice hustle play, sprinting over to save the ball from going out of bounds and then throwing it off a Mascenic player to preserve the possession for his team.

Wayrynen showed good toughness on a put-back, as the Vikings went back on top 17-15. Andrews countered on the other end with a jumper, tying it back up 17-17. Just seconds later it was Mascenic re-taking the lead 19-17 with 3:00 left in the 1st half on a put-back by Michael Sullivan. Bow answered back, using some good ball movement to find Wunderli inside for a layup, as the Falcons went back on top 20-19 - back and forth we went! It was 20-19 Bow at the half.

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