When you lose your top player, you find out as a coach who on your team will be willing to step up and fill the void.
Unless you are the #3 ranked Oshkosh North Spartans. Head Coach Frank Schade has so much talent; there never really is a void.
With star Nathan Neveau on the bench for the entire first half, the rest of the Spartans harassed the Fond du Lac Cardinals into 33 turnovers in a 66-41 victory at Oshkosh North.
Fond du Lac got off to a fast start, taking an early 4-0 lead. Compound that with senior Nate Neveau going up for a basket and getting fouled hard, the Cardinals had the Spartans on their heels early. It definitely had Schade worried.
“When he went down, I thought ‘wow, we are really going to have to dig deep’,” Schade said. “But I thought we kept the tempo going the way we wanted to, and we harassed them defensively. I also thought we pushed the ball offensively.”
And push they did. After Fondy’s run to start the game, the Spartan’s went on a 10-0 run to take a lead that they would never relinquish. Oshkosh North’s 1-3-1 defense so bothered the Cardinals that at one point in the second quarter Fond du Lac had as many turnovers (13) as they did points.
“Oshkosh North is a good team. There is a reason they are ranked in the top five in the state,” said Fondy head coach Adam Zakos. “The put a lot of pressure and they are a team that will test you in a lot of ways. Right now, we are not ready to beat a team like that.
The Spartans got great play from two juniors with Neveau out. Seth Taylor caused several turnovers with is on-ball defense and slashed his way to 10 points, while Blake Marquardt used his size and strength underneath to lead the Spartans with 11 points.
“We have got some other kids that can shoot that ball, so I wasn’t real worried there,” Schade said. “I thought Nick Bauer handled that ball well in place of Nate, and we just keep playing our way. It makes a big difference when Nate is out of the game, but we had some guys step up.”
Bauer finished with six points.
Although disappointed in the finish, Zakos did get a great game from senior Joe Schorse. Leading all scorers with 14 points, Schorse nearly single handedly kept Fondy relatively close in the first half.
“Joe is a competitor; he is a senior, and our team plays for its’ seniors,” Zakos said. “That is what comes down to. Once everyone starts to compete at the level he competes at, we are going to be pretty good.”
With the victory, the Spartans improve to 3-0 on the Fox Valley Conference and 5-0 overall. The Cardinals drop to 0-3 and 1-3. Oshkosh North travels to Neenah on Friday to take on the Rockets, while the Cardinals welcome Appleton North.
Fond du Lac…9 10 5 17 — 41
Oshkosh North… 20 13 14 19 — 66
Fond du Lac: Sosalla 2, Schorse 14, Cleveland 2, Ruch 8, Luteyn 4, Windsor 7, Armon 4. 3-pointers: 3 (Ruch 2, Schorse). FT: 4-6. Fouls: 18. Foul out: Luteyn.
Oshkosh North: Neveau 7, Bauer 6, Dyer 5, Geisthardt 9, Radtke 9, Taylor 10, Madut 4, Hassman 5, Marquardt 11. 3-pointers: 5 (Geisthardt 2, Dyer, Bauer 2). FT: 17-22. Fouls: 10.