With one of the most dominant quarters of the season, a team record for wins and a great performance from the heart and soul of the squad, the Wrightstown Tigers continued their run through the Olympian Conference with a 71-33 throttling of Manitowoc Lutheran on Friday night.
The Tigers have had lopsided quarters in the past, but the first quarter of this game was at a completely different level. Starting with their pressure defense, the Tigers were able to hound the Lancers into 12 turnovers in the first quarter. That kind of ball hawking defense limited Manty Lu to just six shots in the first period, and seven points. That’s right. Wrightstown force more turnovers than they allowed SHOTS in the first quarter. The other part of the dominance in that first stanza was offensively. With the pressure defense fueling their offense, the Tigers started the game with 14-0 run, outscoring the Lancers 24-7 in the quarter. The Lancers never got any closer than nine the rest of the game.
“We tweaked up some things with our pressure in the first quarter tonight. It really helped us and we were help to get some deflections and get out moving,” Tiger head coach Cory Haese said. “The first five or six minutes there they didn’t score. We held them to a goose egg and we are breaking out getting some lay-ups. When that happens, that tends to lead to a good night.”
The offensive output from the Tigers was exactly what Haese wanted, as he got points from 10 players, and had four players in double figures. Jon Braeger and Cole Van Schyndel paced the Tigers, both pitching in 12 points. Cody Van Rossum and Brandon Do-McKenzie added 10. Craig Nennig chipped in nine.
“It is nice to see the energy level of all 13 of our kids. Week in and week out, they come and play,” Haese said. “They keep battling and battling and it is fun to watch. It is fun to see these kids grow and develop, but we still have a lot to do this year.”
For Do-McKenzie, it was another in a long line of strong performances. Do-Mac, as he is affectionately called, has been an on-court leader for the Tigers all season, be it playing lock-down defense on the opponent’s best player, or making one of his patented coast-to-coast drives to bring the momentum back to the Tigers.
“Coach helped us put the new defense in this week. We had three days to prepare for this game. That gave us time to perfect that and it showed tonight,” Do-Mac said. “The defense was all about ball pressure and picking up the intensity. It helped a lot.”
With the victory, Wrightstown established a new school record for consecutive wins in a season with 11, breaking the record of 10 set by last season’s squad.
The Tigers have a small break, and then a tough run of games begins. Starting with Valders, the only team to beat the tigers so far this season, Wrightstown has a three game run against the top three teams in the Olympian Conference not named Wrightstown.
“We got thru the first half of our conference season 8-1, but the boys aren’t quite satisfied with that,” Haese said. “They are really excited for what’s about the come.”