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Zaleski Sports

MERRILL – Merrill overcame a hot start by Lakeland to top the Thunderbirds 77-74 in a nonconference boys basketball game Tuesday night at Merrill High School.

The Bluejays, playing their season opener, fell behind 46-35 at halftime, but limited Lakleand to just 28 points in the second half and eked out the three-point win.

“Lakeland shot the daylights out of the ball from beyond the arc in the first half, and with it being our first game and all we had some breakdowns on defense which led to us trailing by 11 at the half,” Merrill coach Troy Pieper said. “Giving up 46 points in the first half is not how I envisioned the first game to start, however I have to give credit to my players, they took the adjustments we made at halftime and executed great on the defensive of side in the second half, we held them to just 28 in the second half.”

Bailey Turenne was 8-for-8 at the free throw line, made three 3-pointers and scored 29 points to lead the way for Merrill. He also added 12 rebounds, five steals and three assists in the win.

Troy Mootz went 6-for-8 from the field and 6-for-6 at the free throw line to add 20 points for the Bluejays.

Merrill plays a nonconference game at Shawano on Thursday.

Bluejays 77, Thunderbirds 74

Lakeland 46 28 - 74

Merrill 35 42 - 77

LAKELAND (74): Statistics not reported. Record: 1-3.

MERRILL (77): Jordan Bush 0-3 2-2 2, Cayden Davis 2-5 2-4 6, Bradyn Pieper 2-5 0-0 5, Bailey Turenne 9-17 8-8 29, Cory Gigl 4-14 1-2 10, Michael McRae 0-1 0-0 0, Sam Reimann 1-1 3-6 5, Troy Mootz 6-8 6-6 20. FG: 24-54. FT: 22-28. 3-pointers: 7-26 (Turenne 3-6, Mootz 2-3, Pieper 1-3, Gigl 1-10, McRae 0-1, Bush 0-3). Rebounds: 31 (Turenne 12). Fouls: 16. Fouled out: McRae. Record: 1-0.

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