By Dan Truttschel~Sports Correspondent
Early in Saturday’s non-conference game with visiting Kenosha Bradford, Wilmot boys basketball coach Jake Erbentraut decided to send his team a message.
They received it loud and clear.
Wilmot overcame a sluggish first quarter and cruised to a 70-44 victory. The win improved the Panthers to 3-2 overall heading into a Southern Lakes Conference road contest Tuesday at Delavan-Darien.
Results of that matchup were unavailable at press time.
Wilmot fell behind 14-10 in the first quarter, which led Erbentraut to look to his bench for a spark.
That group provided just that, as the Panthers began to pull away in the second quarter. Wilmot led 32-23 at halftime and iced the win with a 19-7 third quarter.
“I wasn’t at all pleased with our energy early in the game,” Erbentraut said. “But the second group that we put on the floor gave us the lift we needed and seemed to wake up our starters.”
Nate Hensel led a balanced scoring attack for the Panthers with 17 points, followed by Brandon Schattner with 16, Trey Turner with 10 and Bryce Kothe with six.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Panthers traveled to Waterford and fell 46-43 in their SLC opener.
Wilmot trailed by 19 points at halftime, but put together a furious rally to get back into the game. The Panthers outscored the Wolverines 32-16 in the second half and had a chance to tie at the buzzer, but a 3-point attempt bounced off the rim.
“This game was a tale of two halves,” Erbentraut said. “We played a great second half, but you can’t fall behind by 19 and expect to come out on top. Give Waterford credit. They took it to us in that first half.”
Schattner had 21 points on the strength of four 3-pointers and three steals, followed by Hensel with 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Turner added five rebounds.
Erbentraut was encouraged by his team’s comeback.
“Even though we lost, which is disappointing, I am proud of the fight our kids showed in the second half. The lesson to be learned here is we have to come to play all four quarters. We will get back to work, learn from this and move forward.”
Following Tuesday’s game at Delavan, the Panthers are back home this Friday night for a 7 p.m. SLC contest with rival Westosha Central
Wilmot girls roll
The Wilmot girls basketball team opened SLC action in style last week with a 49-38 win over visiting Badger.
Wilmot led 22-16 at halftime and 35-26 after three quarters. The Panthers closed out the game with a 14-12 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Rachel Szyldowski led the way with 15 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Kari Clements added 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals, followed by Marnie Destree with six points and six rebounds. Jenna Damon chipped in with six points.
“I was happy with the way our girls played,” Wilmot coach Keiya Square said. “Badger plays a very aggressive defense that seems to always have two people around the ball.
“They did a good job of knowing where Kari was all night, and we had some girls step up.”
Earlier in the week, the Panthers posted a 48-40 non-conference win over visiting Kenosha Tremper.
Clements had a game-high 22 points, four rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Szyldowski added eight points, 10 rebounds and two
blocks, while Teya Gaines added six points.
Wilmot hosted the Prairie School in a non-conference contest Tuesday night. The Panthers get back to SLC action Thursday when they travel to Waterford.
Softball clinic set
The Wisconsin Lightning 23U womens fastpitch softball team will host its first skills clinic Saturday, Dec. 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wilmot High School.
The clinic is open to area girls in fourth- through eighth-grade.
The fee of $40 includes lunch and a clinic T-shirt.
Members of the Lightning, including Northwestern University sophomore Kristen Wood, University of Wisconsin-Madison freshman Sarah Fonk and Lamar University freshman Mackenzie Walker, will run the clinic.
Advance registration is requested. A form can be downloaded online at www.wilightningfastpitch.com.
For more information, contact Lightning manager Pat Dopke at (262) 227-4172 or via e-mail at email@example.com.