The new-look Platteville boys’ basketball team opened the season with a pair of games at UW–Platteville’s Williams Fieldhouse over Thanksgiving weekend.
Friday night the inexperienced Hillmen dropped a 60–38 non-conference decision to a polished veteran squad from Oregon.
Platteville rebounded with a gritty 38–22 non-conference victory over Milwaukee Collegiate Academy Saturday night.
The Hillmen graduated five seniors — four of them starters — from last year’s team that went 9–13, including first-team All-SWC point guard Derek Schambow, honorable mention All-SWC forward Adam Brogley and guards Tanner Ames and William Cooley.
This year’s squad will feature a brand new backcourt of junior Cody Schambow, senior Jesse Gardner — who averaged 1.5 points per game off the bench a year ago — and sophomore Braden Nies.
Seniors Blake Wagner — an honorable mention All-SWC pick as a junior — and Chance Kupersmith are the only returners with extensive experience.
In Friday’s loss to Oregon (1–0), Wagner played well posting 16 points and six rebounds, but many of his teammates were still adjusting to the pace of varsity play.
The Panthers outscored Platteville 19–8 in the opening eight minutes and led 37–18 at the half.
Six-foot-five senior Markus Tobias drilled a pair of 3-pointers and scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the first half to lead the Oregon ambush.
Junior Alex Duff — a 6–4 wing — added 15 points for the victors.
“Our inexperience against a veteran team really showed up,” said Platteville head coach Mike Huser. “They were physical and we had a hard time adjusting to the speed of the game. In the second half we played better, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.”
In Saturday’s win, Platteville’s seniors stepped to the forefront. Wagner and Kupersmith scored 12 points apiece and Gardner added nine to lead the Hillmen to a 38–22 win.
Platteville jumped out to a 16–7 first quarter lead, but the visiting Lions (0–2) hung tough, holding the home team to just two second quarter points and pulled within five entering the final period at 25–20.
Wagner and Kupersmith kept attacking the basket in the second half and eventually got Milwaukee Academy in foul trouble.
The Hillmen converted 14 of 18 free throws including 11 of 14 in the fourth quarter to pull away. Both Wagner and Kupersmith went 3 of 4 from the line down the stretch.
“We really made it a point after halftime to get in the paint and attack the basket,” said Huser. “Our aggressiveness got us into the bonus midway through the third quarter and we were able to convert at the free throw line.”
Kupersmith had nine rebounds and a block to go along with his 12 points. Wagner added three rebounds and two steals, while Gardner finished the game with nine points and seven boards.
“Kupersmith, Wagner and Gardner all stepped up and played well on Saturday,” said Huser. “As a team we played better in stretches Saturday, but we still have work to do, especially on offense. I did think we played well defensively, so I was pleased with that.”
Platteville will return to action Thursday with a non-conference game at Juda. The Hillmen will then travel to Mount Horeb on Tuesday.
Oregon 60, Platteville 38
(from Friday, Nov. 28 @ UW–Platteville)
Oregon 19 18 14 9 — 60
Platteville 9 9 7 12 — 38
Oregon (1–0) — Mitchell Morhoff 9, Peter Kissling 4, Steven Davis 1, Alex Duff 15, Max Chase 2, Sromovsky 3, Charlie Soule 10, Markus Tobias 16. Totals — 28 9-17 60.
Platteville (0–1) — Braden Nies 4, Collin Thiele 2, Jason Withrow 2, Jesse Gardner 4, Devin Briggs 1, Blake Wagner 16, Chance Kupersmith 9. Totals — 15 11-25 38.
3-point goals — O: 6 (Morhoff 1, Tobias 3, Duff 1, Sromovsky 1); P: 3 (Nies 1, Wagner 2). Team fouls — O: 20, P: 17. Fouled out — none.
Milwaukee Collegiate Academy 22
(from Saturday, Nov. 29 @ UW–Platteville)
Milw. Academy 7 8 5 2 — 22
Platteville 16 2 7 13 — 38
Milwaukee Collegiate Academy (0–2) — Rodez Watson 9, Omanji Williams 2, Kenjay Mitchell-Ellis 3, Malik Harris 4, Trevon Anderson 2, Cortez Brown 2. Totals — 9 2-6 22.
Platteville (1–1) — Braden Nies 4, Cody Shambow 1, Jesse Gardner 9, Blake Wagner 12 Chance Kupersmith 12. Totals — 9 18-23 38.
3-point goals — MCA: 2 (Watson 1, Mitchell-Eliis 1); P: 2 (Gardner 1, Wagner 1). Team fouls — MCA: 20, P: 11. Fouled out — P: none.