It was another learning experience for the Tomah High School boys basketball team.
The Timberwolves rallied from a large early deficit but couldn’t close the deal in a 54-50 loss to Holmen in a Mississippi Valley Conference contest Friday at Tomah High School.
Tomah coach Plueger was proud of his team for coming back and believes his players can build on the effort.
“I’m not super upset,” Plueger said. “I’m happy with how we played on the defensive side to give ourselves a chance. We made big strides to get back into the game ... we just couldn’t get over that hump.”
Holmen made three 3-pointers and four foul shots in the first eight minutes of the contest to grab a 19-4 lead.
Tomah outplayed the Vikings the rest of the way. The Timberwolves cut the gap to 27-17 by halftime, and Kade Gnewikow rattled off six straight points to slice the margin to 32-31.
Isaiah Nick converted a 3-point play to tie the contest at 42-42, but Holmen’s Ben Olson scooped up a loose ball to convert a layup that put the Vikings ahead 44-42 with 3:16 left.
Holmen’s Jimmy Gillespie drained a 3-pointer with 2:06 remaining to push the margin to 47-43, and the Vikings made six straight foul shots down the stretch to keep the Timberwolves at bay.
Gnewikow led the Timberwolves with 15 points and was Tomah’s leading rebounder with five.
The Timberwolves came into the contest after gaining a split during the holiday week at the D.C. Everest Tournament.
Menomonie’s high-octane offense got points from 10 different players in an 83-65 victory over the Timberwolves Dec. 29. Nick led Tomah with 16 points.
Tomah bounced back the next night to rally from a 28-14 halftime deficit Dec. 30 to defeat River Falls 56-48. River Falls came into the contest with a 6-2 record and defeated Menomonie 58-40 just two week earlier. Sophomores Gnewikow and Carson Lindauer combined for 31 points to lead the Timberwolves. Gnewikow made seven of 10 foul shots, and Lindauer drilled four 3-pointers.
Plueger believes his young team, which has just one senior, is headed in the right direction.
“We’re getting better,” Plueger said. “Kids are better understanding situations, and I’m understanding situations on who to play.”
The Timberwolves return to MVC action Tuesday to host Onalaska. Tipoff is 5:45 p.m. and is the first half of a boys/girls varsity doubleheader.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.
MENOMONIE 83 TOMAH 65
Tomah—Gnewikow 12, Lindauer 5, Torkelson 2, Derousseau 6, M. Gerke 4, Nick 16, J. Gerke 4, Diamond 1, Figgins 2, Ella 13.
Menomonie—Wuertzel 11, Boecker 3, Barthan 8, Kressin 13, Feddersen 7, Sleichert 11, Ebert 13, Thornton 2, Zbonik 6, Zabriske 9.
Three-point goals—Gnewikow, Lindauer, Derousseau, Ella 2, Wuertzel 3, Kressin 2, Federssen.
TOMAH 56 RIVER FALLS 48
River Falls—M. Johnson 2, Feyereisen 6, Daughterty 9, Z. Johnson 12, Chapin 19.
Tomah—Gnewikow 17, Lindauer 14, Torkelson 6, Derousseau 6, M. Gerke 2, Nick 2, Ella 9.
Three-point goals—Daugherty 3, Z. Johnson 3, Lindauer 4, Torkelson, Ella 2.
HOLMEN 54 TOMAH 50
Holmen—Gillespie 16, Wall 6, Weber 9, Koelbl 17, Phillips 2, Olson 4.
Tomah—Gnewikow 15, Lindauer 8, M. Gerke 7, Nick 11, J. Gerke 2, Ella 7.
Three-point goals—Gillespie 3, Wall, Weber, Koelbl 3, Gnewikow, Lindauer 2, Ella.