By Brian Kalish
January 28, 2020
WESTON– According to Google Maps, D.C. Everest High School and Wausau East High School are separated by roughly 8 miles. If the result of Tuesday’s boys basketball match up between the Evergreens and Lumberjacks is any indication, the distance separating those two teams on the court is much, much larger.
As time wound down toward the final buzzer, Everest’s student section pointed at the scoreboard and cheered for their team to score five more points, which would have given the Evergreens a cool 100 on the night.
But Everest coach Jerry Pagel pulled back on the reins and allowed time to expire without any more shot attempts.
Everest may not have scored 100 points, but that’s about the only disappointment for the home team as they completely dominated the Lumberjacks en route to a 95-61 victory.
The win propels Everest into a first place tie in the Valley with Merrill and Marshfield.
Merrill defeated Wausau West on Tuesday, while Marshfield fell to Rapids. Merrill, Marshfield and Everest all own a 5-2 conference record as of Tuesday night.
The Evergreens’ complete dominance of East was all the more impressive considering Everest suffered a tough loss to Eau Claire North the previous night.
Clearly, there was no hangover from that loss.
“We had a tough one last night,” said Everest senior Bryan Halambeck, who greased the skids for the Evergreens with a game-high 32 points. “But we talked it out and we said let’s forget about it and come back strong tomorrow and we did just that. I’m proud of all the boys.”
Halambeck had 19 points in the first half, going toe-to-toe with East scoring machine Gabe Krueger.
Krueger paced the Lumberjacks with 30 points and appeared unstoppable in the game’s first ten minutes.
However, Everest found a way to disrupt Krueger’s momentum by making a defensive adjustment.
“He’s a heck of a player,” said Halambeck. “We definitely game plan for him, but he was torching us in the beginning, so we went to a two-three defense and we played more solid team defense and that really worked out.”
Meanwhile, Everest proved it wasn’t just a one-trick pony. Halambeck led the way, but no fewer than 13 players on their roster broke into the scoring column.
Senior Alec Stuedemann connected for 16 points, while Cade Sivertson added 12.
“I think this was one of our best offensive games,” Sivertson said before getting a water bath from his teammates while doing the post-game interview. “Guys were cutting hard and moving around more, and that was allowing more scoring opportunities for us.”
“Everyone on the team has worked hard in practice and they all deserve that,” Halambeck said. “I wasn’t surprised that everyone got some scoring in tonight.”
Tony Powell had 10 points for East– all in the second half. Powell drained two three pointers.
East will look to put this game into the rearview mirror as quickly as possible, while Everest plans to build on this success. The goal of winning the conference title is within the Evergreens’ grasp, but they’re focused on taking it one game at a time.
“We obviously won by a lot, but there’s always stuff to improve on, so we’ll watch the film and see what we can improve on for the next one,” Halambeck said.
East 29 31 61
Everest 51 44 95
East Scoring: Powell 10, Novak 3, Heinzen 3, Charles 4, Thome 4, Stroming 5, Reif 2, Jackson 2, Krueger 30
Everest Scoring: Kielman 5, Sivertson 12, Svoke 4, Stuedemann 16, Halambeck 32, Bradfish 2, Kindermann 2, Ostrowski 2, Hall 3, Edwards 8, Dobe 3, Ebersold 4, Rombalski 2