Second half spurt carries Stoughton past Watertown
Watertown made some good runs at a solid Stoughton team, but the Goslings couldn’t overcome a toe-stubbing stretch midway through the second half.
Trailing by three with 12 minutes left in the game, the Goslings surrendered 11 unanswered points in a little over 90 seconds and never recovered in a 55-46 Badger South loss to Stoughton on Friday at WHS.
Watertown (3-2, 0-2 in conference) improved on losses of 21 and 31 points to the Vikings a season ago, and also improved on a 25-point loss to defending conference Monona Grove the previous Friday.
Stoughton (4-1, 2-0) led 17-9 in the first half when there was a lengthy game stoppage to address a slick spot on the floor on Watertown’s end. When play resumed, the Goslings went on an 8-0 run to tie game.
The Goslings showed great patience against the zone during the run. Junior guard Kory Stas scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer from the corner and a pull-up jumper after driving the lane.
Junior guard Deon Nailing completed the run with a 3-pointer from the right elbow with 2:05 left in the first half to tie it at 17-17. Nailing scored all nine of his points in the opening half.
A steal and layup by senior guard Drew Anderson with under a minute to go allowed Stoughton to take a 19-18 lead into halftime.
The Goslings took their last lead on senior forward Noah Jeseritz’s basket underneath just 14 seconds into the second half to make it 20-19, but junior guard/forward Adam Hobson took over from there, scoring 15 of his game-high 19 points over the final 18 minutes to spark the Vikings.
Watertown hung around by hitting four 3-pointers in the second half, including two by senior guard Alec Lauersdorf. The second of those triples cut Stoughton’s lead to 31-28, but then came the backbreaking run.
Hobson hit his third 3-pointer of the half to start the 11-point run. Lauersdorf missed on the other end and 6-foot-5 sophomore Reece Sproul converted a three-point play on the ensuing possession.
Stoughton came up with a steal on Watertown’s next possession, and Sproul converted a second straight and-one following a putback. Jeseritz was whistled for a travel from there and 6-4 senior forward Trenten Conklin completed the 11-0 run with a short hook shot from the baseline to make it 42-28 with 10:22 to play.
The Goslings never got closer than six after that.
“That’s been a negative part of our season thus far is the turnovers,” Watertown boys basketball coach Travis Moulton said.
“The crazy thing is, I have a lot of guys I trust with the basketball, handling the ball. It happens when we over-dribble and we get too far in the gaps before kicking.
“For 36 minutes, I am pretty proud of how we battled. I think there were two minutes in the second half that we mentally turned off and boom, it’s an eight or nine point game, and that’s all she wrote. We did punch back to some of their punches. They made too many plays down the stretch.
“Hobson is a very good player. He has a high basketball IQ, and just knows how to use his body. We had a hard time stopping him, and (6-foot-7 junior) Jack Nelson is an absolute beast.
“Frustrating game. You feel like you competed with them for so long, but to beat good teams, you can’t play for 34 minutes. It has to be 36 minutes of quality basketball. You are going to have mistakes there during that time, but you can’t let one mistake turn into two or three.
“We just had that stretch where we didn’t think about the things we needed to do … transition defense, boxing out, the little things that win basketball games.”
Junior guard Cade Oiler saw his first action of the season coming off a football injury and played extensively. Sophomore guard Graham Stramara scored all five of his points in the second half and junior guard Derek Rowedder played some quality minutes in other highlights.
“It was nice to have Cade back,” Moulton said. “I thought he played well. For him to play the minutes he played off a week of practice is honestly ridiculous, how good he looked at practice and tonight.
“Derek played great minutes again tonight. Graham got us back into it single-handedly in the second half. He had a 3 and then a drive. He was diving on the ground for loose balls, just a huge spark plug for us. That was the best stretch of basketball that he’s played in a game. We see it in practice.
“I feel confident moving forward. This is the second year in a row where we have started with the best two teams in the conference back to back. There’s not going to be an easy game in the Badger South, but they are not going to get harder than that.
“We ended up losing to MG by 25, and tonight by nine, but both those teams are going to be ready for us the second time around. They are not going to be like, we’re not going to need to prepare for Watertown. I guarantee we put some thought in the minds of both their players and their coaches.”
Watertown travels to face Fort Atkinson on Tuesday.
JV wins, JV2 falls: Watertown’s junior varsity won 59-50. Evan Sellnow scored 22 points and Jackson Wehner added 15 for the Goslings. Watertown’s JV2 team lost 53-46.
STOUGHTON 55, WATERTOWN 46
Stoughton 19 36 — 55
Watertown 18 28 — 46
Stoughton (fg-ft-tp) — Hutcherson 2-1-5, Anderson 3-3-9, Hobson 8-0-19, Sproul 4-2-10, Conklin 2-0-4, Nelson 4-0-8 Totals 23 6-12 55
Watertown (fg-ft-tp) — Oiler 1-0-2, Jeseritz 3-0-6, Foltz 1-2-4, Nailing 3-2-9. Stas 3-3-11, Rowedder 1-0-3, Stramara 2-0-5, Lauersdorf 2-0-6 Totals 16 7-12 46
Three-point goals — S, Hobson 3, W, Nailing, Stas 2, Rowedder, Stramara, Lauersdorf 2.
Total fouls — S 18, W 17