PARDEEVILLE — Tuesday’s battle between Markesan and Pardeeville may have been the first of many Trailways West Conference prep boys basketball contests this season, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big game.
In a battle between two teams that most believe are the two best in the conference, it was Pardeeville that scored the first victory. The Bulldogs got a game-high 26 points from senior Nicholas Henke, and used a 15-2 run late in the second half to pull away for a 67-59 win over Markesan at Pardeeville High School.
Markesan (1-1) led 45-42 with 11 minutes, 10 seconds left when junior Shane Ryan, who led the Hornets with 19 points, drained a 3-pointer from the left corner. It was the second straight 3-pointer from Ryan, but it was the last field goal for the Hornets for almost an 8-minute stretch that saw the Bulldogs take control.
During that span, Pardeeville outscored Markesan 15-2. The Bulldogs (3-0) got many offensive contributions during the run, as five different players scored, including four each from Henke and senior Nicholas Cerro, who finished with 10, and three from senior Jonathan Kamrath, who ended up with 13.
The 15-2 run was capped by a pretty alley-oop pass from Kamrath to senior Duncan Fleiner, who scored on an easy layup to make it 57-47 with 3:44 to play.
Pardeeville head coach Chris Lindert said his team played well on both ends of the floor during the key run.
“We played solid defense and we had good ball movement on the other end. We made some buckets,” Linder said. “It’s no secret. You play good defense and you get easy shots, you’re going to go on 15-2 runs.”
Markesan head coach John Koopman said it was just a few mistakes that cost his team in the second half.
“We forced up a couple shots during that time that probably were ill-advised. They were probably not our best shots,” Koopman said. “And we had some good looks that we just missed. Then they came down, and I thought we defended them well, but we had some breakdowns on some screen-and-rolls and some cross screens that we just didn’t defend real well.”
Markesan tried to close the gap, and was trailing 64-56 when senior Carson Clark made a 3-pointer with 1:10 to go. The Hornets had a chance to draw even closer after Pardeeville junior Jackson Pargman missed a pair of free throws with 58 seconds to play, but Cerro rebounded the second miss and passed it back out to Henke, who was fouled, giving Pardeeville another shot from the line. This time Henke made both free throws for Pardeeville, and the Bulldogs were back in front by 10.
“I thought that was huge,” Koopman said Cerro getting the offensive rebound on Pargman’s missed free throw. “I think if we get that, we can come back and get a bucket, and I think we’re right back in it.”
Neither team led by more than six until Pardeeville’s big run late in the game. Markesan was able to stay in the game thanks to nine 3-pointers, including five by Ryan.
Pardeeville was focused on stopping Markesan leading scorers Drew Bernhagen and Clark. Bernhagen finished with 10, while Clark had just six.
“They’re a tough team to defend, because Bernhagen and Clark are as good of players as you are going to see in our league,” Lindert said. “We just tried to make somebody else beat us, and our attitude was, ‘Can they beat us the whole game?’ We know Clark and Bernhagen can, but you force somebody else to do it.”
The Hornets almost did find enough scoring, as senior Austin Triggs finished with 16 to go along with Ryan’s 19.
Pardeeville got a nice game from Fleiner, who finished with nine points. He headed to the bench early in the second half after picking up his third foul, but returned about the time Pardeeville went on its decisive run. It wasn’t a coincidence that Pardeeville started heating up once the 6-foot-6 senior returned to the game.
“He’s a force on the defensive end and he takes attention on the offensive end,” Lindert said. “I think that opens it up for some other people, because you have to double him. If you don’t double him, he’s scoring.”
PARDEEVILLE 67, MARKESAN 59
Markesan 28 31 — 59
Pardeeville 29 38 — 67
MARKESAN — Boening 2, P. Paddock 2, Clark 6, Triggs 16, Ryan 19, Bernhagen 10, J. Paddock 2, Triggs 2. Totals 21 8-15 59.
PARDEEVILLE — Cerro 10, Pargman 5, Fleiner 9, Kamrath 13, Zuhlke 4, Henke 26. Totals 24 15-33 67.
3-point goals — M 9 (Ryan 5, Clark 2, Triggs 1, Bernhagen 1), P 4 (Henke 3, Pargman 1). Total fouls — M 25, P 14.