By Paul Lecker For Zaleski Sports
MARSHFIELD – A year ago, the Marshfield and Merrill boys basketball teams tied for the Wisconsin Valley Conference title.
The first meeting between the two teams this season showed that they both will likely be contenders again.
Marshfield staved off a last-second attempt to win the game by Merrill at the end of regulation, then outscored the Bluejays in overtime to hang on for a 68-67 victory on Friday night at Marshfield High School.
Marshfield evens its overall record at 3-3 and improves to 2-0 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, while handing Merrill (3-1, 1-1 WVC) its first loss of the season.
“I figured it was going to be that close. I was hoping,” Marshfield coach Scott Scheuer said. “My guys played hard, efficient, and I thought we got some easy looks down the stretch. Obviously, you want to win, but you also want to play well. I think we got a little better tonight.”
Merrill scored the first seven points of the game and led 20-13 with 8:27 to go in the first half after back-to-back 3-pointers from Piersen Pyan.
The Tigers came back with a quick 9-0 run as Anthony Posteluk and Joey Goettl made 3-pointers, and Addison Hill converted a three-point play to give Marshfield its first lead at 22-20 with 7:10 left in the half.
From that point on, neither team led by more than five points and the lead changed hands a dozen times.
Marshfield took a 30-29 lead into halftime and scored the first four points of the second half before Merrill responded with an 8-0 run.
Both teams exchanged baskets down the stretch. Following a three-point play by Michael Casper, who finished with a game-high 27 points, put Merrill up 57-56 with 2:20 left.
Goettl drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the game to give Marshfield a 59-57 lead, only to see Merrill quickly tie it on a hoop by Caleb Timm with 1:19 to go.
Marshfield missed a 3-point attempt with 43 seconds left. Merrill rebounded and ran the clock down to 14 seconds left before calling a timeout. On the ensuing possession, the Bluejays missed a jumper as time ran out to force overtime.
In the extra period, Bennett Koehn scored on a layup as Goettl zipped a pass in underneath, but Nathan Woller converted a three-point play to put the Merrill back on top.
An offensive rebound by Koehn led to a 3-pointer from Sam Hinson with 2:25 left, his third of the contest, and Marshfield led the rest of the way.
Hill and Hinson each made two free throws to put Marshfield up by four, and Casper drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to provide the final score.
“Down the stretch, making shots in the lane and getting post-ups, and we were able to get some rebounds,” Scheuer said. “I’m really happy for my guys. They did everything I asked.”
Hill had 13 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and overtime for Marshfield. Posteluk added 15 points, Goettl 14, and Hinson 13 in the win.
Marshfield will compete at the Waunakee Tournament next week. The Tigers will play Milwaukee Pius XI on Dec. 27 and either Waunakee or Port Washington on Dec. 28.
Tigers 68, Bluejays 67 (OT) Merrill 29 30 8 – 67 Marshfield 30 29 9 – 68 MERRILL (67): Nathan Woller 3-8 3-3 10, Isaac Sutton 0-2 0-0 0, Jake Zelinski 0-1 0-0 0, Piersen Pyan 5-11 1-2 13, Connor Mootz 3-8 0-0 8, Michael Casper 9-13 5-5 27, Caleb Timm 4-7 1-2 9, Dan Pepke 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 24-50. FT: 10-12. 3-pointers: 9-24 (Casper 4-5, Mootz 2-5, Pyan 2-8, Woller 1-4, Zelinski 0-1, Sutton 0-1). Rebounds: 27 (Casper 7). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Timm. Record: 3-1, 1-1 Wisconsin Valley Conference. MARSHFIELD (68): Addison Hill 5-9 5-6 17, Sam Hinson 4-5 2-2 13, Bennett Koehn 3-6 0-0 7, Anthony Posteluk 5-11 2-2 15, Joey Goettl 5-9 0-2 14, Sam Roherty 1-1 0-0 2, Wyatt LeMoine 0-2 0-0 0. FG: 23-43. FT: 9-12. 3-pointers: 13-27 (Goettl 4-5, Posteluk 3-9, Hinson 3-3, Hill 2-5, Koehn 1-4, LeMoine 0-1). Rebounds: 17 (Hill 5, Posteluk 5). Turnovers: 7. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none. Record: 3-3, 2-0 Wisconsin Valley Conference.