By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – Less than two weeks ago, the Green Bay East boys’ basketball team sat with a 13-2 record.
Then came a three-game losing streak.
The Red Devils (14-5 overall, 6-4 Bay) got back to their winning ways in a 63-41 Bay Conference victory Feb. 10 over Green Bay West.
“It’s nice to get off the snide,” East Head Coach Rick Rosinski said. “Two of the three games were competitive and came down to the last possession. It’s nice to get a win against your cross-town rivals.”
Vance Alexander led East with 16 points, while Oliver Killian chipped in 14.
Sam Hemery paced West (1-15, 0-10) with 18 points.
About 30 seconds into the game, Red Devils leading scorer Ryan Sweeney picked up his second foul.
Despite the adversity, East took a 15-6 lead after Marcus Hall grabbed an offensive rebound and put in the layup.
The Wildcats battled back each time with Hemery’s outside shooting and Brandon Wilson scoring in the paint.
The Red Devils seized control late in the first half, going on a 10-point run to take a 33-14 lead at halftime.
“It was a matter of picking up the intensity and getting out in transition with some passion,” Rosinski said. “The run to close the half gave us a spark in building the lead back up to double digits.”
Sweeney, who averages about 22 points per game, picked up his third foul in the first half and went to the bench with his fourth early in the second half.
“(Sweeney) has got to be a little smarter on defense,” Rosinski said. “You have to adjust to the way officials are calling the game. We were lucky other guys played some big minutes and stepped up while he was on the bench.”
West cut East’s lead by getting baskets from Wilson and Juan Perez-Medrano.
Suddenly, the Red Devils lead had shrunk to 43-30 with plenty of game left.
Fortunately, for East, Cole Gillespie, Alexander and Killian made timely shots to extend the lead to 53-30 before Sweeney reentered the game down the stretch.
With about a minute remaining, Evan Chanthadouangsy went coast-to-coast for a layup, as the Red Devils cruised to the 22-point victory.
“We need to keep our heads up and keep pressing forward,” Rosinski said. “The kids need to continue to fill their roles, play aggressive and shoot with confidence.”