A lack of varsity experience is playing a key role early in the Norsemen’s boys basketball season, Westby dropped a nonconference game to Sparta and its first Coulee Conference game to Black River Falls last week.
Bob Constalie, Westby’s head boys basketball coach said, Westby did not play well in the first half of either game, but improved in the second half.
“We are playing a lot of young kids who do not have a lot of varsity experience and we are definitely experiencing some growing pains,” Constalie said.
Defensively the Norsemen are giving up way to many easy shots in the paint and giving up too many offensive rebounds. Constalie said the team needs to do a better job of forcing its opponents into contested shots outside of the paint and the offense needs to eliminate unforced errors and shoot the ball better.
Sparta 60, Westby 48
The Norsemen (0-3) only put up 18 points in the first half of action against Sparta, while allowing the Spartans to jump out to a 21 point lead (39-18) by the break. Coming back from a double digit deficit is never easy and although Westby shot better in the second half, putting up 30 points, while holding Sparta to 21, it was too big of a spread to overcome for the young team.
Ryan Daines led the way for Westby with 16 points, followed by Davontae Spears with 13. Finishing out the Norsemen scoring against Sparta: Sam Strangstalien 5, Alex Gluch 7, and Joe Armbruster 5.
Westby shot only 32 percent from the field making 17 of its 53 attempts and hit just 2 of its 13 attempts from long range. Westby was12 of 19 from the free throw line and turned the ball over seven times, a big improvement from the week before.
BRF 69, Westby 49
Westby’s Coulee Conference season opener sent the Norsemen to BRF to play a senior strong Tiger’s team where they fell 69-48. The Tigers used a strong performance by Ethan Anderson, Bryce Seiber and Elliot Bird who all hit double digits. Anderson racked up 26 points, Seiber 13 and Bird 11.
Westby jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the first three minutes of action, but from that point on it was all BRF. Anderson had 10 of his game high 26 points in the first eight minutes.
Griffin Grass came off the bench for Westby to drain a pair from long range in the first half, but the Norsemen missed multiple gravy shots in the paint which would have helped the cause. BRF held a commanding 41-22 lead by the break.
Once again Westby played better in the second half, but couldn’t contain BRF. Grant Dayton came on strong for Westby after the break putting up seven points and Brendan Buros came off the bench and scored all six of his points very late in the game. The combined team effort wasn’t enough to close the gap giving Westby its first conference loss of the season.
Westby shot only 28 percent from the field making 18 of its 64 attempts and hit just 5 of its 28 attempts from long range. Westby was 8 of 13 from the free throw line and turned the ball over 12 times. Sam Strangstalien led the way for Westby with nine. Also putting up points for the Norsemen were Alec Meurer 5, Griffin Grass 6, Alex Gulch 7, Davontae Spears 2, Grant Dayton 7, Brendon Buros 6, Ryan Daines 6, and Devin Nelson 1.
Constalie said rebuilding a team takes time.
“We have a lot to work on in practice,” Constalie said.
Westby hosted Hillsboro in non-conference action on Dec. 11 and Arcadia on Thursday, Dec. 14.
SPARTA 60, WESTBY 48
Westby 18 30 - 48
Sparta 39 21 - 60
WESTBY (0-3): Sam Strangstalien 5, Alex Gluch 7, Davontae Spears 13, Joe Armbruster 5, Ryan Daines 16.
SPARTA (3-1): Juan Aguilar 2, Alex Burke 13, Nick Church 13, Nick Church 15, Raymond Brown 3, Jaden Raymer 13, Jacob Burchardt 2, Wesley Yahnke 6.
BRF 69, WESTBY 49
Westby 22 27—49
BRF 41 28—69
WESTBY: Sam Strangstalien 9, Alec Meurer 5, Griffin Grass 6, Alex Gulch 7, Davontae Spears 2, Grant Dayton 7, Brendon Buros 6, Ryan Daines 6, Devin Nelson 1.
BLACK RIVER FALLS (3-2, 1-1): Isaac Cowles 4, Brandon Nicholas 4, Ethan Anderson 26, Elliot Bird 11, Gavyn Littlewolf 2, Nate Becker 3, Jacob Woods 4, Bryce Seiber 13, Mitchell Iverson 2.