By Greg Bates
Times Press sports correspondent
BONDUEL – What was billed as a big game with second place on the line in the Central Wisconsin Conference East turned into a one-sided affair.
With the Shiocton boys’ basketball team holding a slim two-point lead late in the first half, the Chiefs erupted on a 30-10 run. Bonduel could never cut its deficit under 20 points as Shiocton cruised to a 71-46 victory on Friday, Feb. 1.
“I thought we played well on both ends of the floor,” Shiocton coach Chad Schmidt said. “Very, very happy with the defensive awareness. What they try to do and what we try to do to counter that and prevent them from doing that. I thought we did a really nice job on (Parker) Bohm. Obviously, he’s going to be a defensive focus for any team. He’s averaging 21, and had six tonight. I give our guys credit for that, Deven (Bedor) and Caden (Schmidt) switched off on him. It was a team effort defensively.
“Offensively, I thought we attacked their zone very, very well. They had to get out of it. We moved the ball, they were smart with it.”
Shiocton’s offense was really clicking to start the second half. Corbin Lorge knocked down a 3-pointer and had a nice pass to Cole Wilcox on the fast break as Shiocton scored 16 of the first 20 points out of the locker room to make it a 20-point game, 48-28.
“It’s that time of year where we’re excelling as a team and we’re going to keep going,” said Shiocton guard Derek Bedor, who scored a game-high 17 points. “We’re going to try and get that conference championship this year.”
Shiocton, which hosted undefeated Iola-Scandinavia on Tuesday Feb. 5 with first place up for grabs, has now won seven of its last eight games and 10 of 12. It’s starting to find its identity as the veteran players are meshing well with the younger guys.
“We’re definitely getting our mojo for sure,” Lorge said. “We’re coming together as a team.”
Schmidt has watched his team improve on the little things since Christmas such as boxing out better and converting on free throws. The Chiefs were 11-for-14 from the free throw line against Bonduel.
“Our first game of the year we were 9 of 29 on the line in our last game against Brillion we were 20 of 26, so it’s a huge improvement,” Schmidt said. “It’s a lot of things that you just get better at. Our chemistry on offensive, understanding how to attack the opponent together in clusters of two or three. It’s not a one-on-one game for us, it’s a clusters games where you’re reading [how] defenders react to an attack of the ball and we’re just getting a lot better at the timing of that. So, offensive efficiency is getting a lot better.”
Shiocton (10-5, 6-1 conference) was in control early in the game, holding a 13-7 lead. But Bonduel (9-7, 5-3) answered with a 7-0 run as Isaac Boldt’s 3-pointer gave the Bears a 14-13 advantage with 7:47 remaining in the opening half. The Chiefs quickly responded as a Derek Bedor field goal gave the visitors a 21-16 lead. Shiocton scored the last five points of the half to go into the break up 32-24.
“We had a good talk at halftime,” said Lorge, who scored 14 points. “Coach really was pushing us to our limits and that’s what we did out there.”
Shiocton came out strong in the second half, playing strong defense and getting out on the fast break. It also converted well in the half-court sets.
“Just more ball movement because their defense gets a little out of control and we can get through the gaps,” Lorge said.
Shiocton got solid productive from two of its lesser known scorers. Jack Fielding came off the bench to tally 12 points and Deven Bedor added 11 points.
Coach Schmidt loves when he gets production from a variety of guys all the while playing as a team. Everything is clicking for the Chiefs.
“We’re where we want to be right now,” Schmidt said.