Elks' second-half rally overtakes Badger High boys
ELKHORN There are only so many clichés’ and motivational speeches a coach can use to convince a team to play a complete basketball game.
Lake Geneva Badger coach Forrest Larson already has run out of them.
After posting an impressive 29-22 halftime lead against No. 9-ranked Elkhorn, Larson’s Badgers were outscored 23-10 in the second half en route to a frustrating 45-39 loss to the Elks in a Southern Lakes boys game here Tuesday night.
Senior guard Eric Bryson scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half to ignite Elkhorn’s rally and help the first-place Elks (13-1, 7-0) maintain a two-game lead over Waterford (9-5, 6-2) in the conference loss column.
Meanwhile, after advancing the WIAA Division 1 state tournament last season, Badger (5-8, 3-5) still is searching for answers.
“It’s been like this all year for us, where we have played some really good first halves and then in the second half things just grind to a halt,” Larson said. “We have got to figure out what’s going on there.”
The Badgers also couldn’t figure out how to stop Bryson in the second half.
After managing just three points in the first half, Bryson racked up seven quick second-half points and trimmed the Badger lead to 33-31 with 3:55 to play in the third quarter.
Badger managed to hold off the Elks a little longer and took a 35-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
But there was no stopping Bryson from there. He pierced the Badger defense with a runner in the lane and drained two more three-pointers to put his team ahead, 39-37, with 5:25 to play.
“We just needed to pick it up, and I had to try getting the team on my back and get some intensity going,” Bryson said. “The first half we were stagnant and were just not ready to play.”
The frustrated Badgers scored just two more points the rest of the way and watched the Elks make four free throws in the final minute to put the game out of reach.
“It’s a challenge being consistent on the defensive end, but it was much better in the second half,” Elkhorn coach John Handel said. “If we want to do anything, we are just going to have to play better defensively for longer and more consistent stretches of time.”
The inconsistent Elkhorn defense allowed the Badgers to make three consecutive three-pointers during an 11-0 spurt that pushed the visitors up 24-13 midway through the second quarter.
Braden Tice scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the first half to help the Badgers maintain a 29-22 halftime lead.
ELKHORN 45, BADGER 39
Badger (39) – Dailey, 2-1-6; Tice, 5-0-12; Bowers, 2-2-6; Gaugert, 1-0-3; Lorenzi, 3-0-6; Lois, 2-0-5; Chironis, 0-1-1. Totals: 15-4-39.
Elkhorn (45) – Gahart, 0-2-2; Olson, 2-2-7; Findreng, 2-0-5; Bryson, 6-2-18; O’Laughlin, 3-3-9; Lockhart, 0-2-2; B. Schmidt, 1-0-2. Totals: 14-11-45.
Lake Geneva Badger 13 16 6 4–39
Elkhorn 11 11 9 14 –45
Three point goals—Badger 5 (Tice 2, Dailey, Gaugert, Lois), Elkhorn 6 (Olson, Findreng, Bryson 4). Free throws missed—Badger 6, Elkhorn 10. Total fouls—Badger 22, Elkhorn 11.