PATCH GROVE — With leading scorer Jacob Berendes sidelined due to an injury, the Shullsburg boys’ basketball team had trouble putting points on the scoreboard in a pair of tough road losses in Six Rivers competition last week.
The Miners (7-8 overall, 4-3 SRW) dropped a hard-fought non-conference game at Argyle, 33-32, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, and then returned to Six Rivers West action on Thursday, Jan. 25, and fell to the host Timberwolves, 35-27, in a battle for second-place.
The T’Wolves (8-6, 5-2) moved into sole possession of second-place behind league-leading Potosi (7-0). Cassville (4-2) is in third a half-game ahead of the Miners and Benton (4-3), who are tied for fourth.
“Offensive efficiency are words that I have been saying a lot lately. These last two games we have not been efficient on offense. We really need to cut down on the poor decision making and stop being careless with the ball,” said Shullsburg head coach Luke Tyson, “I keep telling the guys that I really like where we are defensively. They are really buying into the concepts we have been working on. We are playing great team defense and always understanding that the next guy is going to be in position to help if needed.”
The T’Wolves held a slim 13-11 lead at the intermission of Thursday’s game, and then opened the second half on a 9-4 run to build up a 22-15 advantage midway through the period.
The Miners closed the gap back to three at 26-23 with 2:26 to play, but the Wolves were able to put the game away at the free throw line down the stretch to seal the victory.
Cole Crubel scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to lead the T’Wolves, including an 8-for-10 effort from the foul line.
Junior Griffin Wiegel led Shullsburg with eight points. Joey Turpin and Isaac Hoppman added five points apiece for the Miners.
At Argyle, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, Connor Carius hit the go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 1:25 to go to put Argyle ahead 32-30, and the Orioles (4-11) held on for a one-point victory.
After Brent Ritschard added a free throw with 32.7 seconds remaining to extend the Orioles’ lead to 33-30, the Miners had a final shot at tying the game in the closing moments. However, instead of getting off a game-tying 3-pointer, the Miners scored a layup with three seconds to go to pull within one at 33-32, and the hosts ran out the rest of clock without having to inbound the ball.
Ritschard was the lone player on either team in double figures with 10 points.
Alex Wand and Griffin Wiegel scored seven points apiece to lead the Miners. Oscar Ortiz hit two of the Miners’ six 3-pointers to chip in with six points.
Shullsburg will host Juda (4-10) during the annual Six Rivers Crossover Challenge on Friday, Feb. 2, starting with the junior varsity game at 6 p.m. followed by the varsity game around 7:30 p.m.
The Miners also have a make-up SRW game at Benton (10-6, 4-3) on Monday, Feb. 5, and a non-conference game at home against Scales Mound on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
Shullsburg…….. 11 16 – 27
River Ridge……. 13 22 – 35
Shullsburg – Alex Wand 3, Joseph Turpin 5, Griffin Wiegel 8, Kyle Klotz 2, Oren Charles 1, Oscar Ortiz 3, Isaac Hoppman 5. Totals – 10 5-9 27.
River Ridge – Bloom 8, Moravitz 4, Redman 2, C. Crubel 19, Steiber 2. Totals – 11 10-17 35.
3-point goals– S 2 (Turpin 1, Ortiz 1), RR 3 (Bloom 2, C. Crubel 1). Total fouls– S 19, RR 15. Fouled out– S: Wiegel.
Shullsburg…….. 15 17 – 32
Argyle………….. 16 17 – 33
Shullsburg – Alex Wand 7, Nolan Strang 3, Joseph Turpin 3, Griffin Wiegel 7, Oren Charles 4, Oscar Ortiz 6, Isaac Hoppman 2. Totals – 12 2-4 32.
Argyle – B. Ritschard 10, Stietz 4, Con. Carius 3, Johnson 3, Lehman 7, H. Flannery 6. Totals – 12 6-8 33.
3-point goals– S 6 (Wand 1, Strang 1, Turpin 1, Wiegel 1, Ortiz 2), A 3 (Con. Carius 1, Johnson 1, Lehman 1). Total fouls– S 13, A 8. Fouled out– None.