By Dan Truttschel, Sports Correspondent

The past week was a tough one for the Wilmot boys basketball team.

Wilmot dropped all three games to see its record drop to 7-9 overall and 6-4 in the Southern Lakes Conference.

The Panthers opened play with a 67-56 loss last Monday afternoon to New Berlin Eisenhower at the Bradley Center, Milwaukee, followed by a 62-47 SLC setback Feb. 2 to visiting Waterford.

Wilmot closed its week Friday night with a 46-28 non-conference loss at Richmond-Burton (Ill.). The Panthers played the game without two of its leading scorers, senior Chris Nelson, who was sick, and senior Matt Betz, who was sidelined with a sprained ankle.

The full week of festivities may have caught up with the Panthers, coach Terry Bruton said.

“We had a lot of fun up at the Bradley Center,” he said. “I think we played them really well. That was a good game for us, to compete with one of the better teams in the state.

“I think after (that), we wore ourselves out. We have some illnesses in the program and some tired guys.”

The Rockets jumped out to a 17-4 first-quarter lead and never looked back from there. Richmond held a 29-13 halftime lead.

Bruton couldn’t explain the sluggish effort.

“That was just the ‘Twilight Zone,’” he said. “Playing without ‘Nelly’ and Matt made it strange. But it was a good experience for us.”

Cal Rohrman led the Panthers with nine points, followed by Nate Hensel with eight.

A tough first quarter again was the story in the Waterford game, as the Wolverines jumped out to a 14-6 lead. Wilmot pulled to within nine points by halftime, but was outscored 33-27 in the final two quarters.

Hensel led the way with 16 points, followed by Mike Stevensen and Nelson with eight points apiece.

“I think the inside play of the Waterford kids (was one key),” Bruton said. “We were not very good in our transition defense. They got too many easy buckets. Those were basically the keys.”

In the week’s first game, the Panthers gave state-ranked Eisenhower a big scare and held the lead in the third quarter but couldn’t hang on in an 11-point loss.

Stevensen had a team-high 15 points to lead Wilmot, followed by Nelson with 11 and Brandon Schattner and Hensel each with nine.

“We came out of the locker room (in the third quarter) and played really well,” Bruton said.

“We know our transition offense is a good one. We know we can play one of the best teams in the state for a short period of time. That was very impressive. … It tells us that we’re doing a lot of the right things.”

Wilmot was back in action Tuesday night against visiting Delavan-Darien. The Panthers close out their week at rival Westosha Central Friday to face the Falcons at 7 p.m.

Just four games remain in the regular season, so the Panthers now are beginning to focus their sights on the upcoming postseason tournament.

“We have to continue to get better at the things we have to work on,” Bruton said. “We need to rebound, we need to play good defense and things will take care of themselves.”

 
 

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