It would have been entertaining to see the top two scorers in the Wisconsin Valley Conference engage in a little game of H-O-R-S-E on Tuesday night.
Stevens Point Area Senior High sophomore Trevor Anderson came into the night leading the Valley Conference in scoring with an average of 20.3 points per game, and he did nothing to hurt that average by finishing with a game-high 26 points.
Taylor Penn, a junior for Wausau West was sitting right behind Anderson in the scoring race at 20.1 points per game and scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half.
Anderson got something a lot better than a scoring title when the Panthers, who are ranked fifth in Division 1 in the latest Associated Press poll, wrapped up an outright Valley championship by trouncing the Warriors 77-49.
SPASH will attempt to complete an unbeaten run through the conference when it hosts D.C. Everest on Feb. 20.
“They have a really good team,” West coach Nate Lemmens said. “They have the two studs (Anderson and Sam Hauser), but I love their role players. They have a lot of guys who can hurt you.”
Hauser was his usual productive self with 18 points.
But just has been the case all season, some of those role players Lemmens referred to, George Diekelman and Sean Van Helden, who contributed 11 and nine points, respectively, provided the real impetus for another blowout win.
Part of the reason why the Panthers don’t necessarily have to rely entirely on the 1-2 punch of Hauser and Anderson is the unselfish brand of basketball that permeates every SPASH player who hits the floor.
All the players look to make that extra pass to find the player with the best look on the floor.
“I think we lead the league in assists with something like 18 a game,” SPASH coach Scott Anderson said. “That’s one of our themes, we move and share the ball, and we’re fortunate that we have some guys who can make shots.”
The shootout between Penn and Anderson never materialized thanks to a suffocating trapping defense employed by SPASH.
The relentless pressure resulted in more turnovers — seven — than field goals attempts (five) for West in a disastrous first quarter, in which the Panthers scored the first 14 points and led 16-3 after eight minutes.
That pressure made it next to impossible for West to run its offense or get many looks at the basket for Penn, who was hounded most of the night by Diekelman, Hauser and Jon Barnes.
“I feel like we do a pretty good job with that pressure, and that’s who we are,” coach Anderson said. “We want to make sure we speed the game up and it doesn’t become a game of long possessions.
“I was really pleased with our third quarter, we made a big charge and put the game back in our control.”
Leading scorers: Wausau West, Taylor Penn 18, Kyle Nickel 4, Jakob Tordsen 7, Mason Bednarski 2, Jacob Raeder 6, Joe Utecht 2, Carson Weber 10. SPASH, George Diekelman 11, Sam Hauser 18, Trevor Anderson 26, Sean Van Helden 9, Andrew Ruzek 2, Jon Barnes 7, Kirien Sprecher-Kaztmarek 4. 3-pointers: WW 2 (Penn 2); SPASH 8 (Diekelman 2, Huser 3, Anderson 2, Barnes). FT: WW 9-10; SPASH 17-20.
Records: SPASH 19-1, 11-0 WVC; Wausau West 4-16, 1-9 WVC.