Thunder boys lose in regional semi-final

The Seymour Thunder boys basketball team knew they had a challenge in facing No. 2 seed Pulaski in the WIAA Division 2 Regional semi-final Friday night, March 2 but the Red Raiders proved too tough in the second period and took the match 67-53, ending the Thunder’s season. The Thunder came out strong in the first half, at one point had an 8-point lead. “I thought we had the chance to extend that at one point,” Coach Jon Murphy said. “When we didn’t, momentum kind of turned.” By half-time, Pulaski led 26-24 after scoring 12 of the last 16 points in the first half.
The Red Raiders stormed out of the locker room after half-time and went on an 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the second period. “All of a sudden we’re down 8 or 10 points and that kind of remained the differential the rest of the game,” Murphy said. “We didn’t answer, and we turned the ball over four times in the first six possessions. Pulaski’s a team that controls tempo and they don’t make a lot of mistakes. I think our youth showed up.”
Trevor Cornell led the Thunder with 20 points, while Riley Murphy added 17. Trent Blake had 8 and Rhett Driessen contributed 6 points. Pulaski had four players in double digits: Trevor Stiede 18, Dylan Hendricks 16, Logan Lukasik 15 and Pierce Narges 14.
Murphy pointed to the leadership of several players, saying Cornell had a good senior year, Blake made second-team all-Bay Conference and also led the Thunder in scoring with 16 points per game and Murphy was honorable mention all-Bay Conference. “Those kids were kind of the backbone, and others added to the team,” he said. Murphy singled out sophomore Driessen along with freshmen Mason Dorn and Peyton VanDeHei. “They got valuable experience at a varsity level, so all a sudden next year we come into the season with a couple all-conference kids a bunch of sophomores with experience and senior Trent Blake who’s 6-4.” This year’s JV team ended with a 17-3 record so the future looks bright.
Murphy said the Thunder knew last year and this year were rebuilding years. “We have three seniors, one junior and then a whole bunch of underclassmen,” Murphy said. “For this team to have won 14 games was really a great accomplishment. Besides two or three games, we were in every game of the year and I think this is a great springboard into the next couple of years which I think will be good. I think you’ll see a real nice competitive group next year who’ll get us back on top of the conference. That’s certainly going to be our goal.”
Seymour’s Rhett Driessen pulls up while Red Raider Pierce Narges streams past during the Thunder’s 67-53 loss to Pulaski in the WIAA Division 2 Regional semi-final on Friday, March 2.
– Photo courtesy Rick Cohler
Left: Pulaski’s Pierce Narges runs into a defensive wall of Riley Murphy, Trent Blake, Rhett Driessen and Cayden Waller during the Thunder’s 67-53 loss in the WIAA Division 2 Regional semi-final on Friday, March 2. – Photo courtesy Rick Cohler