With a Wisconsin Valley Conference title on the horizon, the Stevens Point Area Senior High boys basketball team can see its goals coming into focus.
Tuesday night against Wisconsin Rapids, that goal became a little clearer.
Powered by an outstanding effort by senior George Diekelman, the Panthers jumped out to a commanding lead and never looked back as they rolled past Rapids 64-25 on Tuesday night.
“George was locked in tonight,” SPASH coach Scott Anderson said. “He is a good player who had the hot hand and shot well tonight.”
Diekelman led all scorers with with a career-high 27 points, with 20 of them coming in the first half. He was also responsible for four of the six 3-pointers the Panthers made, allowing them to impose their will on the Raiders.
Sam Hauser and Trevor Anderson also finished in double figures for SPASH with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
“My teammates just kept looking for me,” Diekelman said. “We have to keep focused and bring the intensity every day to practice and to each game.”
Helping Diekelman and his teammates run wild over Rapids was the fact the Raiders were without junior Jayson Wiernik and, leading scorer, Philip Flory due to injuries. To make matters worse, Wisconsin Rapids’ second leading scorer, junior Riley Pressley, had to leave the game with an ankle injury of his own.
With such key players missing, Rapids struggled to establish its offense, and went nearly two entire quarters without scoring a basket- including the third quarter where it took a Hunter Langholff layup with less than 10 seconds left to get Rapids on the board.
“We did what we could against a very good SPASH team,” Rapids coach Dan Witter said. “The kids gave what they could and they battled hard, but we just have to move forward from this.”
Rapids was paced by Alex Bassuener with eight points, while Jared Halbur dropped in seven.