The Stevens Point Area Senior High boys basketball team was in a generous mood Tuesday night, spotting Hortonville a 15-point lead six minutes into their nonconference game.
Eric Zelhofer hit a 3-pointer to finally get the lid off the basket in the closing minutes of the first quarter, and SPASH took off from there.
Trevor Anderson hit four free throws and George Diekelman added a pair of free throws down the stretch and the Panthers overcame a sluggish start to pick up a 42-38 nonconference win over Hortonville.
SPASH had a big night at the free throw line, connecting on 19 of 21 attempts in the game.
“In four out of ourt five games, we’ve gotten off to slow starts,” SPASH coach Scott Anderson said. “That concerns me and it’s something we need to fix or it’s going to come up and bite ya. But our guys were tough enough to get back in the game and win it good learning experience.”
The slow start found the Polar Bears knocking down shots on a consistent basis, while the Panthers were getting good looks, but were unable to get any shots to drop.
Zelhofer changed that and after Trevor Anderson, who finished with 18 points, converted a three-point play, SPASH was able to trim the deficit to 16-6 after one quarter.
On the other end of the court, the Panthers turned up the heat and limited Hortonville to just 14 points over the second and third quarters combined to rally and tie the game at 30-30.
SPASH then took control at the free throw line in the final quarter to find a way to pull out the win.
“We want to score more no doubt and I think we can,” coach Anderson said. “Hortonville played some good, solid defense and did a lot of switching on screens. Our guys had to get used to that and give them credit for their defense.
“I was happy we could win this one with our defense when we didn’t shoot the ball that well.”
Sam Hauser chipped in with 11 points for the Panthers, while Jake Bamke paced the Polar Bears with 15 points.
Hortonville (38): Alex Lasinski 3, Mitch Lillge 4, Jake Bamke 15, Brett Van Hammond 4, BrendanThomas 6, Kyle Witthuhn 2, Sean Killoren 2, Dan Borek 2.
SPASH (42): Sam Griffith 2, George Diekelman 2, Eric Zelhofer 4, Jon Barnes 3, Sam Hauser 11, Trevor Anderson 18, Ryan Sullivan 2.
3-pointers: Hortonville 2 (Lasinski, Bamke), SPASH 3 (Zelhofer, Barnes, Hauser).
Records: SPASH 5-0; Hortonville 1-2.