The inexperienced depth of the McDonell boys basketball team was put to the test on Thursday evening in a 67-52 victory over Stanley-Boyd at McDonell.
The Macks (2-0, 1-0) got extended looks at several players as the team battled foul trouble. McDonell's three leading scorers from Tuesday's win over Chetek-Weyerhaeuser — Hayden Baughman, Cory Hoglund and Joey Huffcutt — each picked up their second foul in the first half and spent significant time out of the game. McDonell jumped out to a 26-12 lead prior to Baughman picking up his second foul of the game with 6:49 left in the half and while the Orioles (1-1, 0-1) were able to close the deficit to as close as nine points, the Macks kept the Orioles from getting any closer.
"They had an opportunity to show us what they could do and some of them did, which was good to see," McDonell coach Archie Sherbinow said. "We talked about the foul trouble and moving our feet defensively and I think it just showed that I thought we did some good things with that group on the floor... but things we can do in practice execution-wise and we were able to do certain things when they're on the floor...I think we saw what we can and can't do and areas we need to improve on in practice when they get their chances."
Charlie Bleskachek had 12 of his 18 points in the first half while Baughman scored 12 of his team-high 20 points prior to sitting for the remainder of the half.
"Charlie had a heck of a game," Sherbinow said. "Joe Schwetz, there were some good leadership glue guy stuff from Joe as far as he just does everything I ask."
Defensively McDonell held Stanley-Boyd to just three made field goals in the first 8:22 of the game as they jumped out to a 19-6. Stanley-Boyd coach Tom Hause cited McDonell's on-ball pressure as well as his team just being a little bit off shooting.
"In the first half we thought we got lots of good looks, they just weren't falling down," Hause said. "Their ball pressure really makes things speed up and sometimes you take your shot a little bit faster than you'd like."
McDonell quickly pushed its lead to 52-28 early in the second half before the Orioles would whittle away at the deficit.
"We played really well in stretches," Sherbinow said. "I was disappointed in our consistency in doing that. We can do it, lets do it all the time. I think a little lack of focus which might come from a young team and reiterating that we have a plan here and the second half wasn't part of the plan."
"McDonell is an in-your-face defense and that's one of those things where sometimes kids tighten up," Hause said. "I thought we were being aggressive on the offensive end, just were not getting the shots to fall."
Huffcutt finished with nine points while Eion Kressin added seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists. LJ Schmelzer led all scorers with 22 while Theo Chwala had eight points and nine rebounds for Stanley-Boyd.
New year, new teams
McDonell and Stanley-Boyd finished first and second, respectively, in the Western Cloverbelt Conference standings a season ago with the Macks advancing to the Division 5 state tournament and the Orioles getting to the Division 4 sectional finals for the first time in program history.
But both teams have many new faces from a season ago and as the first week of games for each team wrapped up, both coaches agreed their teams have much to work on as the season gets into full gear.
"We're still finding out who we are," Hause said.
The Macks committed 23 team fouls while Stanley-Boyd was 9 of 24 from the free throw line after a 9 of 25 performance in the Orioles' 48-40 win at Greenwood on Tuesday.
Both teams will be in action next week as the Macks host Colfax on Monday, Thorp on Thursday and face Prescott on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Northwest Tipoff Classic at UW-Stout in Menomonie. The Orioles are off until hosting Cadott on Thursday and face Unity at the Northwest Tipoff Classic on Dec. 9.