Ashwaubenon pulls away from Southwest in FRCC action
By Greg Bates
ASHWAUBENON – After the Ashwaubenon boys’ basketball team was upset at the buzzer by Notre Dame Academy Dec. 10, Head Coach Mark Tomashek said he hoped the loss motivated his guys to practice harder.
On Sunday night, two days after the Jaguars’ first defeat of the season, the players were in the gym giving it all they had.
“I tell them, ‘You’re either going to play hard or you’re going to keep losing. You’ve got to decide at some point,’” Tomashek said.
Two days after that practice, Ashwaubenon was back on its home court against Green Bay Southwest.
From the opening tip, the Jaguars took control and never looked back, earning a 74-56 victory in Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) action Dec. 14.
“I thought they played hard,” Tomashek said. “It got a little chippy and edgy out there, but our guys played physical. I was happy with that. That’s what they need to do.”
Ashwaubenon’s Marcus Tomashek led the way with a game-high 23 points, and fellow guard Matt Imig added 16.
The two seniors were a big part of why the Jaguars practiced hard following the loss and played well in the win.
“We were more intense,” Marcus Tomashek said about the Sunday night practice. “It struck us we lost that game, so we had to bounce back and practice hard. We got one tonight.”
Ashwaubenon, which dropped out of the Division 2 state rankings after its loss to Notre Dame, was up 13-4 in the opening half after Tomashek drained a 3-pointer.
Nine Jaguars scored in the first, as the hosts led 38-22 at the break.
“Our main goal was to get off fast,” Mark Tomashek said. “We’ve been all slow starts this year, so it was important. We executed well early and took them out of their rhythm. We were able to get a few easy baskets, and a few kids knocked down shots. I thought Zach Kelly hit some shots early, and that was big because he’s been struggling from long distance. It was good to get (him) off the schneid a bit.”
Ashwaubenon (3-1 overall, 1-1 FRCC) built its biggest lead at 24 points, 60-36, after a Tomashek hoop.
Southwest — led by David Danforth with 19 points and Connor Pytleski with 18 — responded with a 14-3 run.
The Trojans (0-5, 0-3) couldn’t cut their deficit under 13 points the rest of the way.
“The guys battled,” Southwest Head Coach John Polkowski said. “We tried to do some things with Marcus (Tomashek) and Matt (Imig), two great players, but it’s tough.”
The Jaguars cruised to the victory thanks in large part because of its fast start.
“We got good shots and played good defense,” Marcus Tomashek said. “They didn’t score too much at the start, and we made our shots.”
Ashwaubenon has a challenging stretch on the schedule coming up in traveling to Bay Port (2-2) Dec. 17 and then hosting Menasha (3-3) Dec. 21.
The Jaguars will compete in the WBY Shootout at Concordia University Dec. 28 and take on Cedarburg (4-1).
“You throw them in the fire,” Mark Tomashek said. “We never care about wins and losses, it’s all about trying to get better and playing hard.”