Sipple’s big game not enough as Shawano boys basketball team falls to Clintonville

Truckers used big runs to give Hawks their first loss of the season
Dustin Riese

Coming off an impressive 63-49 victory over Lakeland earlier in the week, the Shawano boys basketball team was back on the court Nov. 25 for what was a boys and girls doubleheader against Clintonville.

Looking to start 2-0 on the young season, the Hawks got off to the worst possible start as they trailed by as much as 16 points in the first half before mounting a comeback.

Sparked by Logan Sipple and his night from the field, the Hawks not only closed that deficit to two points at the half but took the lead midway through the second half and looked as though they might secure the win. That was until the Truckers’ defense tightened up down the stretch and managed to pull away for the 63-52 victory, sending Shawano to 1-1 on the season.

“I was very happy with how we battled as a group tonight, but you can’t spot a team with 16 points in the first half,” head coach Dave Ambrosius said. “Too many mental mistakes early and poor shot selection dug us a big hole. Take away those first few minutes, and we played our brand of basketball. But this is a 36-minute game, not 30.”

The Hawks wasted no time getting the scoring started as Crew Weisnicht went inside to give the Hawks an early 2-0 lead. That was the only lead they would have for the rest of the first half as the Truckers defense not only got tough, but the overall athleticism from their group showed up in a big way and had the Hawks searching for answers.

Whether it was Kade Rosenow showing off his 3-point touch or the quickness and skill from Sam Wegener to generate turnovers, the Truckers used an 18-0 run to open up an 18-2 lead less than eight minutes into the first half.

At that point of the game, some teams may have been content to pack it in and regroup in the second half, but not this Hawks team as they geared up for a strong finish to the half.

That started with Jerzy Brocker being in the right place at the right time for the put back with Sipple following with the soft touch for the first of his many buckets in the game. Following another triple from Rosenow to push the lead to 21-6, Warner Beyer got the Shawano offense rolling as his three closed the deficit to 21-9 with Brocker adding four additional points making things 24-13.

With Jack Yaeger extending the lead to 28-13 with a tough layup, the Clintonville offense went quiet the rest of the way as it was the Hawks’ defense that started to come up big in clutch moments.

That opened the door for Sipple and the offense to get rolling as he added six points over the final five minutes of what was a 13-0 run to close out the first 18 minutes as the Hawks pulled within 28-26 at the break. Freshman Will Verkuilen added five points during that run, with Anderson Schmidt also picking up a bucket.

“Clintonville jumped out on us at the start, but our boys were able to get settled in after the slow start,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a little bit for us to get going offensively, which was the case throughout the first half. The boys did a good job of executing and chipping away at their lead.”

With what was suddenly a ballgame to begin the second half, Clintonville was hoping to get back on track with a quick bucket to extend the lead, but the Hawks had other plans with Brocker and Sipple tying things up 30-30. Another Yaeger bucket down low put the Truckers back in front 32-30 only to see Brocker and Sipple ignite a quick 7-0 run that gave the Hawks their first lead since early in the first half 37-32.

For Sipple, he was just getting started as he scored 13 consecutive points for the Hawks and their offense and single-handedly helped them erase that early 16-point deficit to give the Hawks their largest lead of the night 46-39.

“Logan has had a good start to this season,” Ambrosius said. “Tonight he did an outstanding job of getting to his spots and converting some tough shots. Clintonville did a good job of making him earn everything, but he was still able to get some good looks at the basket.”

Holding that seven-point advantage midway through the second half, it was the Clintonville defense that once again tightened up at the worst time and made life difficult for the Hawks as they managed to score just seven points the rest of the way. Not only that, but the trio of Yaeger, Rosenow and Wegener got back to doing what they did in the first half. Just like that, it was a 15-0 run capped off by another Wegener dunk that took what was a 46-39 Shawano lead and flipped it to give the Truckers a 54-46 lead.

Shawano wouldn’t go away quietly as another corner triple from Sipple pulled the Hawks within 54-49 with Verkuilen adding his second triple of the game to pull the Hawks within 56-53 late. That was as close as they would get as the Truckers did what they had to do down the stretch and ended the game on a 9-0 run and a 26-7 run overall.