There wasn’t much standing in the way of the Baraboo boys basketball team on Saturday.
The host Thunderbirds closed the first half on a 28-0 run and scored their most points in nine years to claim a 79-35 non-conference win over Milwaukee Salam, picking up their first win of the season.
The T-Birds (1-5) continually got out and ran against an overmatched team, as whoever grabbed the defensive rebound led the break. Baraboo was able to consistently get to the rim and beat a Salam defense that was playing catch-up.
“I think in general we’d like to push the ball more and give ourselves opportunities to get more easy baskets,” Baraboo head coach Darrin Berger said, acknowledging that it will be more difficult going forward.
Salam, a Milwaukee private school, has a WIAA enrollment number of 151.
Mason Peterson hit a 3-pointer with 8 minutes, 20 seconds remaining to give Baraboo a 28-8 lead. On the ensuing possession, Peterson assisted Justus Neuman for a layup and the T-Birds were off and running.
Seven T-Birds scored during the run and Baraboo took a 53-8 lead into halftime after Joe Stout assisted Peterson for a basket in the closing minute.
Baraboo’s Caden Carpenter scored on the opening possession of the second half, then Salam ended a roughly 10-minute scoring drought when Affaq Munawar hit a 3-pointer a minute into the second half.
The teams went back and forth in the second half, as the T-Birds emptied their bench and the half was played with a running clock due to the 40-point differential.
Baraboo’s 79 points were the most that the T-Birds have scored since an 84-70 home win over Sauk Prairie on Feb. 6, 2009. The T-Birds broke the 60-point mark for the first time this season after entering the day scoring 46.8 points per game. Baraboo’s previous season high came during a 67-57 Badger North Conference loss to Portage on Dec. 8.
Neuman made two of Baraboo’s five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points. Mason Peterson added 12 points for the T-Birds, while Connor Grogan and Joe White-Eagle each scored nine and Ryan Gehin and Calvin Peterson each finished with seven.
“It was nice to see our younger kids get a lot of playing time and get a chance to hopefully build up some confidence,” Berger said.
Salam’s Baseer Hussaini made four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points. Noah Oweisi chipped in two 3-pointers and 10 points for the Stars, who got 21 of their 35 points from behind the 3-point line.
The T-Birds played a clean game, committing just three total fouls and holding their first opponent this season below 50 points.
Baraboo will return to Badger North Conference action by hosting unbeaten Waunakee (6-0, 3-0 Badger North) on Tuesday. The T-Birds have lost 16 straight games to the Warriors, including a 72-56 home loss and an 82-50 road loss last season.
“Waunakee looks to be one of the better teams in the state. What I’m looking for is for us to play the game the right way,” Berger said, noting the T-Birds will need to force the Warriors into tough shots while moving the ball, taking care of the ball and getting good shots on the offensive end. “We’re looking to do what we need to do to keep getting better going forward.”
BARABOO 79, MILWAUKEE SALAM 35
Milwaukee Salam 8 27 — 35
Baraboo 53 26 — 79
MILWAUKEE SALAM — Oweisi 4 0-0 10, Hussaini 5 0-0 14, Munawar 2 0-0 5, Assad 2 0-0 4, Shahin 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 0-0 35.
BARABOO — Peterson 5 1-2 12, Grogan 3 3-3 9, Neuman 8 0-0 18, Carpenter 1 1-4 3, Stout 1 0-0 3, Gehin 3 1-2 7, Quinn 2 0-0 4, Kargel 1 1-2 3, Peterson 3 0-0 7, White-Eagle 4 1-2 9, Montpas 1 2-2 4. Totals 32 10-17 79.
3-point goals — MS 7 (Oweisi 2, Hussaini 4, Munawar 1), BAR 5 (Peterson 1, Neuman 2, Stout 1, Peterson 1). Total fouls — BAR 3, MS 16.