Shawano boys basketball team drops Bay battle to Xavier

Hosts outscored 10-0 in final 3:30
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Shawano Community High School boys basketball team dropped the battle of the Hawks, 74-64, to Bay Conference-leading Xavier on Feb. 3 in Shawano.

In what was a matchup of two of the top teams in the conference, with Shawano hoping to hand Xavier its third conference loss to create a four-way tie atop the standings, the action on the court didn’t disappoint.

The first half was an up-and-down affair, with 3-pointers coming fast and furious. When the dust settled and halftime buzzer sounded, the teams were deadlocked at 40.

The pace slowed in the second half, as every possession got more meaningful.

Xavier pulled ahead 64-58 with just over five minutes to play. Shawano’s Luke Guenther made a basket before Logan Sipple hit two free throws and a jumpshot to knot things up with about 3:30 to play.

Unfortunately for Shawano, those were the final points it scored in the game. Xavier pulled back ahead on a 3-pointer with roughly 3:10 to play, converted an and-one chance with 56.4 seconds left and then made three free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal things up.

In the final 3:30, Shawano simply couldn’t make a basket. The hosts got some great 3-point looks, and had a close shot at the rim roll off.

“I mean, we got a couple good looks that we wanted, we just missed a couple. Those are shots we’re gonna make most of the time, I think,” said Shawano’s Michael Metcalf-Grassman. “They capitalized on offense, we didn’t defend well enough, I think. Then we got into the free throw game and we didn’t hit shots in the end.”

“We definitely missed a couple little, easy ones,” said Sipple. “Like Mike said, those are shots we’re gonna make most of the time. I missed one there at the end and I completely hold myself accountable and I got to make that one next time, but just staying more calm and we just gotta hit those next time.”

Sipple was a big reason behind Shawano’s 40-point first half, scoring 15 of his 21 total points in the opening 18 minutes.

Shawano tallied just six point across the first four minutes, but a three-point play from Sipple jumpstarted the offense.

“I just got to stay aggressive and keep looking to score, even if I’m coming off the bench, I just got to keep staying aggressive — screen for my teammates, look to get them open as well,” said Sipple on his mindset coming off the bench.

The teams remained locked in a back-and-forth battle, with included some shoving and a couple technical fouls being assessed at one point, before a 3-point contest broke out.

Xavier hit a triple to go ahead 13-11 before Shawano’s Brandon Reed knocked in a 3-pointer. After a couple Xavier two-point shots, Sipple connected on a triple.

Xavier was able to build a 25-17 advantage after an 8-0 run that included two more 3s. Guenther snapped Shawano’s scoreless streak with a 3-pointer, but Xavier got a quick basket on the other end right after.

The next five made shots between the teams were 3s. Metcalf-Grassman, Julian Perez and Sipple hit the triples for Shawano.

Xavier continued to lead by a couple possessions before dunks from Metcalf-Grassman and Reed got Shawano within two. After a Xavier triple, Sipple hit two free throws and another field goal before Metcalf-Grassman made a 3-pointer to give Shawano the lead. Xavier tallied the last field goal in the half to tie things at 40.

Shawano went ahead by six right away in the second half after a 3-pointer and three-point play from Metcalf-Grassman. Xavier answered back with a 6-0 run before Guenther hit a triple and Jacob Landon added a basket to give the hosts a 51-46 lead.

The teams continued to trade small runs for the next few minutes before the two defenses tightened up. After Xavier went ahead 61-56 with 9:10 to play, only four total field goals were made before Shawano tied things at 64.

While the loss was a blow to Shawano’s conference title hopes, the team is still holding out hope for that goal and a few others.

“All our goals are still on the table,” said Metcalf-Grassman. “We still do have a chance at conference, and we wanted to win 20 games coming into the year and that’s still on the table, and so is a sectional final like we want to get to. We gotta keep working.”

Xavier 40 34 — 74

Shawano 40 24 —64

Xavier (74): Sam Pfefferle 6-7 8, Hayden Quimby 0-0 14, Carson Hehli 0-1 8, Luke Krull 0-0 9, Nate Twombly 0-0 3, Tyler Brightman 3-3 16, Alex Sherwood 1-1 16.

Shawano (64): Logan Sipple 5-5 21, Luke Guenther 0-0 8, Julian Perez 0-0 6, Michael Metcalf-Grassman 1-2 14, Jacob Landon 1-3 8, Brandon Reed 0-1 7.