Mauston Head Coach Gil Saylor said the team did everything he asked his team to do, when the Golden Eagles fell short to conference rival Adams-Friendship 49-45 Friday evening.
“We had a game plan going in on how to attack a very difficult defense,” Saylor said. “The boys got the ball to where it needed to go, moved to spaces that they needed to move and the ball didn’t go in.”
Adams-Friendship started out strong, but with Golden Eagles Tarren Hall adding 9 points and John Bauer with 5 in the first half, the Golden Eagles took the lead at halftime 19-16.
Due to strong defense on both sides, the teams only scored on free throws with about 12 minutes left in the in the second half, which helped the Golden Eagles keep the lead. This changed with 6:30 left in the game, when Green Devils Donnell Kelly made a basket to make the score 31-30. The Golden Eagles would attempt several times to close the gap, but the ball rimmed out on several occasions.
“We have to take a look at why the lull happened,” Saylor said. “I felt we kind of had an energy lull that kind of let them back in but we bounced back.”
With 15.7 seconds left in the game, Adams-Friendship’s Joe Duty got a chance to score from the free throw line on a foul from Mauston’s Mitchell Burch to make the score 47-42. Golden Eagle offense responded immediately when Hall scored a 3-point basket to make the score 47-45 with 9.4 seconds left in the game.
However, a foul on Keinan Fassett led on Duty scoring two more free throw shots and the score was 49-45 with 8.4 seconds left.
Both Adams-Friendship and Mauston have a huge rivalry against each other. During the 2014-15 season, both teams tied for the conference title while last season Golden Eagles beat the Green Devils in a triple overtime game 53-51 to secure their second conference title in a row. This year the results are a little bit different.
As of Monday, Mauston has a 13-7 record and is 3rd in the South Central Conference with a 5-4 record. Adams-Friendship (17-3) is in first with a 9-0 record.
Mauston’s John Bauer scored 20 points for the night with 11 coming form the charity stripe. He said having Adams-Friendship in their conference is a good thing.
“It’s good competition wise,” Bauer said. “They are a really good team.”
Mauston will play their next game at Richland Center and their last game of the regular season at home against Wautoma (4-16, 0-8 SCC). Adams-Friendship’s final game of the regular season before claiming the conference title will be against Nekoosa (2-18, 2-6 SCC).
While the team has some things to work on, Saylor said they will focus on their strengths and build from there, especially with regular season coming to a close and gearing up for facing Westby next Friday, March 3.
“We’ve got practices and games left and the season’s not over,” Saylor said. “Everybody wants their season to last as long as possible. The ability to take this in and move on to the next game is really important.”
Bauer said the team needs to execute more on their shooting.
“Just need to get more shots up so hopefully they fall for the next couple of games,” he said.
ADAMS-FRIENDSHIP 49, MAUSTON 45
ADAMS-FRIENDSHIP; 16 33 - 49
MAUSTON; 19 26 - 45
Adams-Friendship – Duty 21, Ramirez 7, Ingram 6, Kelly 6, Tikkanen 5, Ward 4 – 49.
Mauston – John Bauer 20, Hall 15, Erler 5, Saylor, Joe Bauer – 45.
3-point goals – AF 1 (Joe Duty 1), Mau 5 (Hall 2, Erler 1, John Bauer 1, Saylor 1). Total fouls – AF 18, Mau 20.