By Murray Gleffe, Correspondent
ASHWAUBENON-Anthony Guarascio 43. Josh Govek 42.
That’s what the south end-zone scoreboard read towards the end of the game for each player.
Fortunately, for the Jaguars, Guarascio’s total (which included 26 in the second half) propelled the Jaguars to a 78-64 victory over the Sheboygan South Redwings (Feb. 22).
Evan Wood added 11 points, and Griffin Baierl chipped in with 9.
Will Adair, Baierl, Jeremy Cox, Guarascio, Bryant Phillips, and Wood were all honored before the game by Jaguars Head Basketball Coach Chris Karcz for their accomplishments as Seniors.
In a very poignant moment, Phillips (who is out for the season with a very serious back injury) started the game. In a grand gesture by Redwings Coach Jeff Ristow, the game was then stopped immediately to honor Phillips with well wishes.
The game was wide open and free flowing right from the get go.
The Redwings jumped out to a 10-5 lead.
The Jaguars countered with a Wood’s baseline jumper to give them their first lead of the evening at 13-12.
Later in the half, Guarascio connected on a double-clutch jumper from in close to extend the Jaguars lead to three.
The Redwings, however, behind the hot shooting of Govek’s triples and dribble drive penetration, went on a surge to go up 31-22 with just 3:29 left till halftime.
Then Guarascio caught fire.
Up to that point, he had a quiet seven points on two made baskets and a pair of free throws.
By halftime, he had 17 points (was just getting started), and the Jaguars took a 32-31 lead into the break.
As much energy and confidence as the home team took into the halftime locker room, the momentum quickly swung back in the Redwings favor.
They started the second half on a 14-4 run to take a 45-36 lead with 11:39 showing on the clock.
Karcz called a time-out to try and ‘stem the tide’.
“I was not real happy with our defense for the first 25 minutes or so of the ball game,” added Karcz. “We let them get too many easy shots. During a couple of time-outs, I kept preaching to the guys to get after it. We finally got a bunch of stops down the stretch.”
The Jaguars hit a three on their first offensive possession after the stoppage and then Kenneth Brooks posted up and put home the easy bucket from three feet out to give the Jaguars some confidence heading into the ‘stretch run’.
The final nine minutes became almost a one on one affair between Guarascio and Govek even though there were eight other players on the court fighting and scrapping on every possession.
After Govek hit an elbow jumper, it gave the Redwings a 58-57 lead with 5:58 left in the game.
It would be their last.
The Seniors on this Jaguars squad weren’t about to let their final game at AHS end in defeat!
The shots that were falling for the Redwings for the better part of 30 minutes disappeared.
Guarascio’s back to back triples and Baierl’s finger roll in the paint ‘with a little english’ was part of a Jaguars 21-6 run to end the game.
It ensured that the seniors would be able to come out of the line-up to hugs and congratulatory handshakes by coaches and teammates.
“I have never seen anything like this game where there are two guys that go over the 40-point mark,” Karcz added about Anthony and Josh’s performance. “Both of them were coming hard off screens and getting their shots off quickly.”
The Jaguars finish their regular season at 5-17 overall and will carry a two-game winning streak into the WIAA Quarterfinal playoffs next Tuesday (Feb. 27) where they will take on the Marinette Marines.
“This group of guys have confidence after beating Preble and winning tonight at home for the final time this season,” said Karcz. “We need to stop Marinette’s three big guns from going off and have active hands on defense. It’s all or nothing from this point forward. There is no tomorrow once the playoffs arrive.”
Sheboygan South/Ashwaubenon Box Score
Sheboygan South 31,33, -64
Ashwaubenon 32,46, -78
Redwings Final Totals: FG’s 24-47, 3 PT FG’s 5-11, FT’s 11-14, Rebounds 22, Steals 1, Personal Fouls 14
Govek 42, Larson 8, Boeldt 6, Ladwig 6, Jones 2
Jaguars Final Totals: FG’s 29-55, 3 PT FG’s 14-25, FT’s 6-8, Rebounds 19, Steals 7, Personal Fouls 9
Guarascio 43, Wood 11, Baierl 9, Cox 7, Brooks 4, Krueger 4