Dorn’s 37 carries Seymour to victory
By Greg Bates
SEYMOUR – Bobby Kuchta said he wasn’t nervous coaching his first game for his alma mater.
He didn’t know if it was because fans weren’t allowed in the Seymour gym and the pressure was off.
It’s too bad fans weren’t able to watch the season opener, because the Seymour boys’ basketball team put on a show.
Led by senior Mason Dorn’s 37 points, the Thunder built a double-digit lead in the second half and downed Bay Conference foe Menasha 86-75 Dec. 3.
“I felt comfortable with a talented group and a talented coaching staff and confident in the stuff we had in,” Kuchta said. “We were prepared, but we knew Menasha wasn’t going to be easy.”
The game had a different feel in the always-electric Seymour gym without fans and the players wearing masks.
“It was nice because we’ve been working hard to get the chance to come back out here,” said Dorn, who played every minute of the game. “The masks are tough, but we had to fight through it. It’s nice to come out in our first game and get a good win.”
Along with Dorn’s big game, Treyton Cornell had five 3-pointers and 17 total points.
Logan Griesbach came off the bench to score 13 points, with his production in the second half key.
“Anytime your bench players can score and bring some energy, it’s big,” Kuchta said. “Logan is another senior who is athletic and doesn’t have a ton of varsity experience, but he can play.”
Seymour (1-0 overall, 1-0 Bay Conference) built a 23-14 first-half lead as Dorn hit six of his first eight shots.
“My teammates know I’m the guy, and I facilitate for them,” Dorn said. “If I’m feeling it, they’re going to let me go.”
The Thunder maintained their lead, but Menasha’s Sam Everson converted a basket with 5 seconds remaining in the first half.
Dorn, who scored 22 points in the opening 18 minutes, pushed the ball down the floor and found Cornell, who drained a high-arcing 3-pointer as time expired to put his team up at halftime, 44-35.
Seymour opened the second half by scoring the first eight points to go up 17.
Menasha (0-2, 0-1) switched its defense and went to a triangle-and-two to try and slow down Dorn and Cornell.
Both were limited on touches in the second half.
“We were setting good screens and working hard,” said Dorn, who averaged 24.4 points per game last season. “If you’re working hard, it’s making the (opposition) work hard, too. It’s tough to guard if you’re setting good screens and coming off tight.”
The Bluejays ran off 12 of the game’s next 15 to make it 55-47, but back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers by Caden VanHandel stretched Seymour’s lead to 16, 73-57.
Menasha, which was led in scoring by Jon Zielinski’s 17 points, couldn’t get any closer than eight points with less than three minutes remaining.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Cornell said. “When you play a good team and you get up by a little bit, they’re going to answer back – that’s what good teams do. Us being able to withstand any run they had helped us keep our margin and not lose something we built up the first half.”
The players said they transitioned well into the game after a few weeks of practice under a new coach.
“He lets us go,” said Dorn about Kuchta. “He’s learning along with us, and he’s learning off of what we do. We’re still running similar things, and he’s throwing in his stuff. We’re learning together.”