GALESVILLE — Cody Schmitz succeeded in taking the ball to the basket and in knocking down jump shots. He scored points early and often.
The Logan High School boys basketball team knew it would have its hands full with the super sophomore on Thursday, but the Rangers could do little about it as the Red Hawks won their third straight game with a 70-51 nonconference victory at Russ Lund Gymnasium.
Schmitz, the 6-foot-5 scoring machine suddenly attracting attention from all over the state, poured in 39 points as G-E-T (3-0) held off a physical challenge and earned the chance to start its Coulee Conference schedule next week with an unbeaten record.
Schmitz, who is averaging 46.3 points per game as the Red Hawks prepare to host Westby (2-1) on Dec. 10, scored 22 points in the first half and helped his team hold off every run pieced together by Logan (1-3) in its second straight loss.
“They have four or five guys who can put it on the floor and some solid defenders,” G-E-T coach Jared McCutchen said of the Rangers. “We knew we’d have to stop that dribble-drive tonight, and we did OK with it, but they shredded us with it at times.
People are also reading…
“Defensively, we were able to withstand enough of their runs, but we got pretty tired in the second half.”
And while it wasn’t always Schmitz making the big shot when Logan trimmed its deficit, he certainly made his share.
Schmitz scored from the perimeter and off the dribble. He found ways around defenders and had no trouble shooting over them when necessary. The result was a second straight 39-point performance after opening the season with 61 points in a win over Sparta.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge to guard him because he’s one of the best scorers in the state right now,” Logan coach Sam Zwieg said. “It was going to take a team effort, but he got it going. Credit to their team for being able to get the ball to him and for him to find a way to score a lot of points again.”
Zwieg opted to defend Schmitz with Keenan Hass and help whenever he could get it. The Logan senior had his moments against Schmitz, but having to defend against a multi-dimensional scorer like Schmitz and having to carry a good chunk of the scoring load at the other end couldn’t have been easy.
“We tried a few guys, and they gave it their all,” Zwieg said. “He played a really good game.”
Hass averaged 19 points during Logan’s first three games, and he scored nine against the Red Hawks while being held without a field goal in the second half. Sophomore Nick Joley led Logan with 12 points, all of which came in the first half.
Schmitz made five 3-pointers and hit 8 of 11 attempts from the free-throw line. The Rangers wanted to keep him off the foul line more, but Schmitz’s insistence on getting the ball to the hoop initiated regular contact.
Logan never led in the game, and it trailed by as many as 11 points early in the first half. An 8-0 run got the Rangers within 22-19 with 7:52 on the clock, but Warren Stoner scored, and Schmitz added four straight points to push the Red Hawks’ lead to 28-19.
A Justis Arellano drive eventually brought the Rangers within 30-27 late in the first half, but Will Thompson scored on both sides of a Schmitz 3 to push G-E-T’s lead to 27-29 by halftime.
A good start to the second half paid off for the Rangers, who were within 39-34 when Dario Wright-Mitjans hit a free throw with 14:40 remaining.
Schmitz, however, responded by scoring seven points during a 16-4 G-E-T run that was started by a Jack Beedle 3-pointer and finished by two Thompson free throws that produced a 55-38 advantage.
“My teammates definitely helped out a lot tonight, both on the defensive side and the offensive side” Schmitz said. “They made some runs at us, and we had guys come down on offense, play their game and get us going.
“We have an offense and work that offense. When I get stopped, they always step up and hit the shot or get the drive or pass we need.”
Thompson added 12 points and junior Will Mack 10 for the Red Hawks, who are 3-0 for the first time since starting the 2017-2018 season with four straight wins.