POYNETTE — Sometimes you can’t seem to miss and others you can’t seem to get a bucket.
For the Poynette basketball team, it was the former in Thursday night’s non-conference game against Marshall. The Pumas led by 19 points at halftime and held off a push midway through the second half to beat the Cardinals 67-51 for their third-straight win.
The teams traded punches throughout the opening minutes, alternating the lead before settling at 10 with 14 minutes, 20 seconds remaining after a layup by Poynette senior Justin Repka. From there, the Pumas (3-1 overall) took over, going on a 17-0 run to take a 27-10 lead.
After senior Aaron Freimuth kicked things off with a 3-pointer, junior Garrett Bruchs added a layup to go up 15-10 with 12:40 left. Poynette kept rolling with 12 more points, capped by a 3-pointer from junior Sawyer Moll and a layup by sophomore Colby Savich, before a free throw by Marshall junior Quinn Killerlain ended the Cardinals drought and made it 27-11 with 8:27 left in the first half.
“We just really focused on taking good shots,” Poynette coach Cody Odegaard said. “It’s only four games in and about a month of practices and I think we’re getting a lot better. It’s just taking good shots, shots in rhythm and we started taking better shots.”
Adding to the Pumas offensive success was the team’s stifling defense. Poynette, despite picking up 15 personal fouls in the first half, used its height to force a lot of tough shots for the Cardinals (0-4) and put a metaphorical lid on the basket.
“We contested, limited them to one shot and that’s what we’re hoping for throughout a game,” Odegaard said.
The Pumas used the formula over the final minutes, closing the opening half on a 16-13 run to take a 43-24 lead into the break. Out the intermission, it was the Cardinals that came out with energy, cutting the Pumas lead to 15 at 48-33 with 12:40 remaining.
Marshall wasn’t finished as it cut the Pumas lead to single digits at 52-43 following a free throw and bucket by senior Reece Leistikow with nine minutes remaining.
“We gave them a surge at the beginning of the second have which we can’t have,” Odegaard said. “We just can’t have lapses like those if we want to be the team we want to be.”
With their lead slashed, the Pumas got back to work and quickly re-established themselves. Poynette countered the Cardinals surge with an 11-3 run t take a 63-46 lead with 3:51 left. From there, the Pumas worked the clock and put the game away.
“We just had to get back to focus,” Bruchs said. “We were up by 18 at half, we didn’t focus well and knew we had to get it back going again.”
“It was like a punch in the face. We thought we were in control and almost let it slide, but refocused, slowed back down and took it back over,” senior Jack Moll added.
The trio of Bruchs, Moll and Klosky were big for the Pumas as all three scored in double-digits. Klosky poured in a team-high 17 points, Bruchs added 16 while Moll chipped in 13 to counter a game-high 28 points by Leistikow.
“Our offense runs through our big guys,” Moll said. “Everything flows through them and as soon as they start cracking down on them, it makes it easier for everyone else.”
“It’s nice to have a little bit of both,” Odegaard added. “All around we have guys that can score so we have some weapons, we just have to make sure we’re taking proper shots at the right time.”
POYNETTE 67, MARSHALL 51
Marshall 24 27 — 51
Poynette 43 24 — 67
MARSHALL — Chadwick 1 1-3 4, Killerlain 1 1-3 3, Smith 2 0-1 6, Stewart 3 1-2 7, Riege 0 1-2 1, Luzenski 0 2-4 2, Leistikow 9 10-18 28. Totals 16 16-33 51.
POYNETTE — Bruchs 7 2-9 16, Freimuth 2 0-1 5, Moll 5 2-2 13, Repka 3 2-5 8, Klosky 7 1-3 17, Moll 1 1-2 4, Savich 2 0-0 4. Totals 27 8-22 67.
3-point goals — MAR 3 (Chadwick 1, Smith 2), POY 5 (Freimuth 1, Moll 1, Klosky 2, Moll 1). Total fouls — MAR 18, POY 26