EagleHerald Sports Writer
SEYMOUR, Wis.—A valiant effort by the Marinette boys basketball team came up short against the No.1-seeded Seymour Thunder in a 58-73 defeat in Friday’s WIAA Division 2 Regional semifinal game.
The No. 4-seeded Marines (2-20) were the underdogs against the Thunder (20-6) but showed no signs of intimidation, battling back from six points down to take a one-point lead midway through the first half. Marinette’s offense went cold after that, suffering through a five-minute scoreless drought as Seymour capitalized, ripping of a 17-0 run to put the Marines into a hole that they were unable to dig themselves out of as the season ended.
“I’m happy with how we played, especially in the first half. They were able to go on a run but we were able to respond and cut that deficit to six at halftime,” Marinette head coach Matt Joost said. “A lot of times this season we’ve let a deficit get out of control but we’ve made a lot of progress in that area. We actually shot the 3-pointer better than they did and that was one of our goals going in, so I’m generally happy with how our offense played.”
The Thunder opened the game with a 5-0 lead thanks to a trey from Treyton Cornell and a layup by Logan Griesbach until Jake Sommerfeldt put the Marines on the board with a triple of his own. Mason Dorn scored on a pair of double-clutch layups to give Seymour a six-point advantage that Asaia Polazzo quickly cut to three thanks to a 3-pointer. The two teams traded 3-pointers before a Griesbach’ layup put the Thunder on top 14-9.
Seymour’s lead did not last long as Jake Sommerfeldt drilled a triple to cut Marinette’s deficit to two and Sam Sommerfeldt followed it up with a trey of his own that put the Marines ahead by a 15-14 margin with 10 minutes and 51 seconds remaining in the first half.
Over the ensuing five minutes, the Marines were unable to get the lid off the basket while Seymour had no such issues, hammering Marinette inside the paint for 14 points while Greisbach canned a pull-up trey, as the Thunder built up a 31-15 lead and forced the Marines to call a timeout with 6:07 to play.
Carson Erdman finally broke Marinette’s cold streak with a 3-pointer while Polazzo tacked on four points as the Marines chipped away at Seymour’s lead. A wide-open layup by Dorn gave the Thunder a 10-point advantage but the Marines responded with a triple from Jake Sommerfeldt while Polazzo knocked down a contest jumper to make it a 33-27 contest at halftime.
Marinette’s offense continued to stay hot as the second half tipped off with Polazzo pouring in seven points while a turnaround jumper by Charlie Bailey cut Seymour’s lead to one.
The Thunder were able to push their advantage to seven until Erdman banked in a jumper off the backboard glass to make it a 45-40 game. A trey from Sam Daugherty and a layup from Dorn once again gave the Thunder a 10-point cushion, but Erdman was able to tack on a layup to get the deficit down to eight. A three-point play by Daniel Inman put Seymour on top by 11 until Sam Sommerfeldt sank a pair of free throws to make it a 53-44 contest with 10 minutes left to play.
Seymour clanged home another trey while Gunar Weyer added a layup that made it a 14-point game and forced a Marines’ timeout with 9:04 remaining. Marinette continued to battle back, with a triple from Jake Sommerfeldt along with a jumper from Polazzo cut Marinette’s deficit to seven with 6:35 left on the clock.
That was as close as the Marines would come, as Seymour outscored Marinette 15-7 over the final six minutes behind 11 points from Dorn while the Marines were able to add a pair of baskets from Polazzo. Free throws from Dorn and Inman iced the game and allowed the Thunder to dribble out the game’s final 20 seconds to secure the victory.
Dorn, who came into Friday’s game averaging 29 points per game, was held to 24 points and Joost said that he was generally pleased with Marinette’s defense performance.
“We did a good job running their shooters off the 3-point line, which is an accomplishment when all five of their starters and shoot very well,” Joost said. “We knew that Dorn was going to go for at least 20 points unless he had an off night shooting so I think we did a good job in holding him to 24, although I wish we had done a better job defending some of their other guys. We allowed them too many open driving lanes and they took it to us.”
Polazzo scored 24 points to lead the Marines in scoring in his final game while Jake Sommerfeldt backed him up with 15 and Erdman added nine.
“We were playing our best basketball over the last three weeks of the season and I wish we had a few more weeks of basketball left to play,” Joost said. “Although we weren’t as successful as we’d have liked when it comes to wins and losses, we made a lot of progress and we have a lot of confidence in our program going forward. With a good offseason, we’ll have a lot of success in terms of victories next season.”
MARINETTE (58)—Polazzo 24, J. Sommerfeldt 15, Erdman 7, S. Sommerfeldt 5, Bailey 4, Polomis 3; FTs: 2-2.