The value of experience was on display at Tomah High School Tuesday.
The Tomah High School boys basketball team trotted out a lineup with five letterwinners and blasted Onalaska Luther 75-37 in nonconference matchup at Tomah High School. It was Tomah’s 2019-20 opener.
Four Tomah players scored in double figures, and coach Brad Plueger gave extended playing time to the first three off the bench.
“You can tell that they have been playing together,” Plueger said. “We’ve got a lot of guys returning, and we didn’t miss a beat. Practices have been fun, and sometimes they’ve been harder than the games.”
The blowout didn’t begin until late in the first half. The Timberwolves led 31-19 before exploding for seven points in the final 1:43 of the first half. They scored six points in the first two minutes of the second half, capped by a breakaway dunk from Dustin Derousseau. The lead reached 71-31 with 5:51 left before the continuous clock was triggered.
Plueger was impressed with how physical his team played. He said an off-season of growing bigger and stronger was evident.
“You get to use your body, you don’t have to use your hands to push,” Plueger said. “Then your body gets a little bit faster, and then you get to use your feet, and you don’t get as many fouls called.”
Nearly 11 minutes elapsed in the first half before the Timberwolves were called for their first foul, and they were foul-free for the first six minutes of the second half.
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Carson Lindauer, a junior letterwinner, moved into the starting lineup for the first time and led the Timberwolves with 18 points. Derousseau, who also got his first start after lettering as a freshman last season, scored 15. Justin Gerke came off the bench to score 14.
The Timberwolves were able to win easily despite not being at full strength. Tyler Torkelson, a starter from last year, and Jalen Figgins, a letterwinning reserve, were on the bench with injuries. Plueger expects both of them back soon and is anxious to make his bench even deeper, which he said is necessary to play an up-tempo style.
“We’ve got guys that can score, and we’re going to try to keep the number of possessions high,” Plueger said. “We’re going to get healthy with Tyler coming and Jalen coming back.”
The Timberwolves return to action Friday with a nonconference game at home vs. Black River Falls. Tipoff is 7:45 p.m. and is the second half of a girls/boys varsity doubleheader.
TOMAH 75 ONALASKA LUTHER 37
Onalaska Luther—Stadtler 5, McNamara 3, Pamperin 2, Byus 6, Breidl 2, Schwitchtenberg 5, Biendenbender 2, Loersch 12.
Tomah—Kd. Gnewikow 2, Lindauer 18, Derousseau 15, Gerke 14, Nick 6, Williams 2, Pierce 5, Ella 13.
Three-point goals—Stadtler, McNamara, Schwitchtenberg, Lindauer, Derousseau 3, Pierce.
Luther 19 18 − 37
Tomah 40 35 − 75