Tomashek, Jaguars down No. 1-ranked De Pere
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – Marcus Tomashek couldn’t have picked a better night to have the game of his life.
The 6-foot-5 senior pumped in a career-high 41 points to help lead the Ashwaubenon boys’ basketball team to a 58-56 Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) victory over De Pere Jan. 14.
The Redbirds (11-1 overall, 7-1 FRCC) came into the game ranked No. 1 in Division 1, while the Jaguars (10-1, 6-1) are ranked No. 10 in Division 2.
Tomashek scored Ashwaubenon’s first 12 points of the game and had 22 by halftime.
Included in his 41 points were five 3-pointers and two free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
The Michigan Technological University commit was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the last few minutes of the game.
“I felt it tonight,” Tomashek, who’s battling a knee injury, said. “We knew we needed this game, and I was locked in all day. This win keeps us in the conference race, which is our main goal. De Pere is so good and deep and has guys who can do everything.”
De Pere, holding the ball for a final shot during the last few seconds of play, had a turnover, which eventually led to Tomashek driving to the basket on the other end and getting fouled.
De Pere’s Will Hornseth, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, matched Tomashek early with nine points.
In a back-and-forth first half, the Redbirds mostly led throughout, but Tomashek’s field goal at the end of the half tied the game at 31-31.
Spurred on by an 11-0 run that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, the Jaguars took a 39-31 lead.
De Pere answered with its own 11-0 run to jump in front, 42-39.
From there, Tomashek scored 16 of the next 19 points for Ashwaubenon.
“De Pere is an excellent team and well-coached,” Ashwaubenon Head Coach Mark Tomashek said. “Like I tell the kids, every game means the same. We don’t get 1 1/2 wins for beating them. It was nice to beat such a great team. Marcus has been dealing with lots with his bad knee and showed up tonight.”
The Jaguars’ lone loss this season came to Notre Dame Academy Dec. 10 when Chris Mitchell scored at the buzzer in a two-point game.
“We got a bit lucky tonight,” Coach Tomashek said. “The kids played hard and stayed disciplined on both sides of the ball.”
Matt Imig chipped in nine points for Ashwaubenon.
The Redbirds had three players – Hornseth (13), John Kinziger (13) and Zach Kinziger (10) – score in double digits.
“De Pere is hard to defend,” Coach Tomashek said. “Sometimes it’s easy to focus on and shut down one or two guys, but they have lots of guys who can beat you.”
After beating Notre Dame 53-51 Jan. 11, the Redbirds’ last two games have both come down to the wire.
“Ashwaubenon played well and defended us well,” De Pere Head Coach Brian Winchester said. “We had some quality offensive possessions but a few we’d like to have back. (Marcus) Tomashek was super for them and hit lots of tough shots. He didn’t get to the rim lots. It was more dribble and then pull up.”
Winchester said the loss isn’t the end of the world for his squad.
“It’s one loss,” he said. “We still have everything in front of us, and the season didn’t end tonight. Yeah, we’re disappointed we lost the game. It’s hard when you have a target on your backs. We haven’t played our best the last week, so we have to analyze what’s gone on and get better. We’re not going to worry about one loss too much.”