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Columbus Catholic guard Tom Nystrom drills a 3-pointer late in the first half of the Dons’ win over Owen-Withee on Tuesday at Columbus Catholic High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/For Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Columbus Catholic held a two-point lead with 12 minutes to go before clamping down on defense and finally pulling away from Owen-Withee.

The Dons limited Owen-Withee to one made basket from the field in final nine minutes and made 16 of 24 free throws in the second half to close out a 75-54 victory in Cloverbelt Conference East Division bous basketball action Tuesday at Columbus Catholic High School.

“We started to trap more in the second half,” Columbus Catholic coach Joe Konieczny said. “We played eight or nine guys, and I thought some of the guys played a big role. Will Schlafke made a huge difference in the second half off the bench. Our depth maybe had an effect.”

Owen-Withee scored the first eight points and led for the first 8½ minutes before Columbus Catholic heated up from long range.

Tom Nystrom hit a 3-pointer to give the Dons their first lead at 18-16. Owen-Withee countered with a 6-0 run, only to see the Dons drill three 3-pointers in a row.

Nystrom, Jadon Nienast and Cole Noreen hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Dons a 27-22 lead with 6:21 to go in the half.

Tyler Weaver scored twice in another 6-0 run from the Blackhawks before Columbus closed the half on a 14-6 run. Wyatt Drexler made a 3-pointer with nine seconds to go and P.J. Heggemeier made a basket for Owen-Withee just before the buzzer as the Dons took a 41-36 lead into halftime.

The Blackhakws (3-14, 2-10 Cloverbelt East) closed to within two at 46-44 on a rebound and basket from Roy Stinson, but the Dons were able to remain in front.

Nystrom, who finished with 14 points, converted a three-point play and Eden Jacobson had back-to-back baskets to extend Columbus Catholic’s lead to 53-46.

Following a basket by Weaver, the Blackhawks went ice cold the rest of the way.

Owen-Withee went 1-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-11 at the free throw line with seven turnovers in the final 8:36 and the Dons built on their lead.

Columbus made 12 of 19 free throws over the last 6:27 to finish off the win.

“We got to the free throw line 20 times in the last nine minutes, started taking the ball to the basket instead of maybe settling for quick 3s, and we got a lot of free throws and layups,” Konieczny said. “We played a little bit more physical that last 10 minutes. We were willing to attack in the paint and stop settling. That was the difference.”

Nienast was 9-for-10 at the free throw line and finished with a game-high 28 points for Columbus (8-9, 7-5 Cloverbelt East). Weaver led Owen-Withee with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

With five games remaining in the regular season, Konieczny said it is time to for the Dons to start preparing for the playoffs.

“We’re just trying to get ready for the second season,” said Konieczny, who has led the Dons to two state tournament appearances in the past three years. “We don’t care what seed we get. We’re doing what we can to improve every day until two or three weeks from now when the second season begins.”

Columbus Catholic will play at Gilman on Thursday.

Dons 75, Blackhawks 54 Owen-Withee 36 18 – 54 Columbus Catholic 41 34 – 75 OWEN-WITHEE (54): Roy Stinson 2-8 1-2 5, Kyle Peterson 0-1 0-2 0, Justin Hubbard 1-3 0-0 2, Nathan Carpenter 0-0 0-0 0, P.J. Heggemeier 5-10 0-0 10, Tyler Weaver 6-13 3-4 15, Austin Rose 0-0 0-0 0, Aaron Ovyn 4-9 1-4 9, Gage Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Caleb Geldernick 4-6 0-4 8, Robert Wendler 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Klabon 2-7 1-2 5. FG: 24-55. FT: 6-18. 3-pointers: 0-12 (Hubbard 0-1, Heggemeier 0-1, Geldernick 0-1, Ovyn 0-2, Klabon 0-3, Stinson 0-4). Rebounds: 33 (Weaver 11). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Weaver. Record: 3-14, 2-10 Cloverbelt Conference East Division. COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (75): Gage Stratman 0-0 2-4 2, Cole Noreen 2-4 0-0 5, Cole Timmler 0-0 1-2 1, Zach Olson 0-0 0-0 0, Will Schlafke 1-2 1-2 3, Tom Nystrom 5-9 1-1 14, Jadon Nienast 8-15 9-10 28, Sam Wilczek 0-2 2-2 2, Eden Jacobson 4-10 2-4 7, Wyatt Drexler 2-6 1-2 7, Carlos Hackel 0-0 0-0 0, Grant Olson 1-3 0-0 3, Dylan Riemer 0-1 0-0 0, Sam Neville 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 23-52. FT: 19-27. 3-pointers: 10-26 (Nystrom 3-7, Nienast 3-7, Drexler 2-5, G. Olson 1-2, Noreen 1-2, Schlafke 0-1, Wilczek 0-1, Riemer 0-1). Rebounds: 31 (Nystrom 7, Nienast 7). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Jacobson. Record: 8-9, 7-5 Cloverbelt Conference East Division.

Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports, a contributor to Zaleski Sports.

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