Thursday and Friday were just what the Tomah High School boys basketball team were waiting for.
The Timberwolves played mostly good basketball in a 59-45 victory over Arcadia and played even better during an 85-60 thrashing of Portage Friday.
The two nonconference home victories raised Tomah’s record to 4-9.
“We’re going to be a different team in the second half of the season,” Tomah coach Brad Plueger said. “Our growth has shown in the first half, and now we’re not so inexperienced any more. You could see our kids’ confidence build for these two games.”
If inexperience showed at any time during the two games, it was late in the first half against Arcadia after Tomah built a 31-13 lead. The Timberwolves didn’t play well with their first really big lead of the season and saw their advantage shrink to 33-25 by intermission.
The two teams traded buckets for the next 10 minutes of the second half before Tomah’s junior center Isaiah Nick took over. He scored all nine points of a 9-2 run that transformed a tenuous 47-39 lead into a 56-41 cushion with 4:07 left.
Nick finished the game with 19 points, including four 3-point plays.
Plueger said Nick’s ability to finish around the rim is an important part of the offense.
“He is totally comfortable in his role now,” Plueger said. “He’s out biggest player, and he has to play round the hoop a little bit more ... he is attacking the hoop and developing into a complete player.”
In the Portage contest, Tyler Torkelson drained a pair of 3-pointers during a 17-5 run that gave the Timberwolves a 40-25 lead at halftime.
Tomah’s lead was never fewer than 14 points in the second half and reached 83-52 with 3 ½ minutes left.
The offense was led by guard Charlie Ella, who made four of six 3-point attempts and finished with 23 points. He also had five offensive rebounds.
“He can be such a complete player,” Plueger said. “He has figured out he has to take the bulk of our shots ... he took them (Thursday), and they went in and out, and (Friday) he took those same quality shots, and they went in.”
Torkelson added 16 points and was Tomah’s leading rebounder with nine.
“We talked about rebounding a lot, and Tyler Torkelson was all over it,” Plueger said. “I thought that was a big factor.”
Portage’s Eli Considine led all scorers with 29 points, but they came on nine-of-25 shooting. The Timberwolves, most notably Kade Gnewikow who guarded Considine in Tomah’s man-to-man defense, did an effective job of keeping Considine away from the hoop and forcing most of his misses to come off the front rim.
The Timberwolves play two more home games this week that are parts of boys/girls varsity doubleheaders. They host Adams-Friendship in a nonconference matchup Tuesday before cross-county rival Sparta travels to Tomah Friday, Feb. 1.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMAH 59 ARCADIA 45
Arcadia—Sonsalla 5, Liskowski 4, Patzer 6, Bjorge 6, Schweistahl 9, Ely 3, Weltzien 12.
Tomah—Gnewikow 9, Adams 1, Lindauer 5, Torkelson 8, Derousseau 8, M. Gerke 5, Nick 19, Ella 4.
Three-point goals—Sonsalla, Liskowski, Schweistahl, Weltzien 2, Torkelson 2, Derousseau, M. Gerke.
TOMAH 85 PORTAGE 60
Portage -Levander 7, Brandsma 2, Considine 29, Miles 12, Thomson 7, Sheppard 3.
Tomah—Gnewikow 12, Lindauer 12, Torkelson 18, Derousseau 6, M. Gerke 2, Nick 2, J. Gerke 4, Figgins 6, Ella 23.
Three-point goals—Considine, Miles, Sheppard, Thomson, Lindauer 2, Torkelson 2, Ella 4.