Pulaski moves to 2-0 with blowout win
By Greg Bates
PULASKI – After starting the 2021-22 campaign off 3-0, the Pulaski boys’ basketball team won just three of its final 22 games.
Coach Dave Shaw wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again this season.
The Red Raiders improved to 2-0 this year with a 70-44 thumping of visiting Antigo in a nonconference game on Nov. 26.
“I think with a little experience, we’re going to be competitive,” Shaw said. “If we can give ourselves a chance in some of these games coming up before Christmas, we’ll see what happens. It’s a tough road. It’s a tough league for us, we know that. We’ve been in this situation before, so we hope to improve.”
That all started with a solid effort in the second game of the season.
“We wanted to come out and improve on what we did in our last game from last Tuesday, and I thought we did that offensively,” Shaw said. “Equally as important on the defensive end, we did some things that were better, so we hope to improve each game.”
Pulaski led 25-5 at the start of the game to set the tone, and it cruised from there.
“We just wanted to execute our (offense) and hit our X’s and hit our shots,” Pulaski senior Derek Shaw said.
Shaw tallied 14 points in the win, as did sophomore Colin Schultz. Gatlin Robaidek added 12 points.
Schultz had 10 of his team’s first 23 points of the game.
Coach Shaw was happy to see his team’s role players make strides and take some scoring pressure of Derek Shaw’s shoulders.
“It was good to see Colin Schultz as a sophomore step up early for us and knock some shots down,” coach Shaw said. “If Brady (Wotruba) can be consistent — and he’s been looking like he can be — at this point, offensively. Then everything revolves around how well we can defend. We’re a little small, a little thin, so the defensive end will kind of dictate how things go for us.”
After leading the team in scoring last season, Shaw doesn’t feel like he has to do it all alone on the offensive end this year.
“I feel like from only losing one senior last year, we’re more experienced,” Shaw said. “I feel like there’s more help around me.”
After Antigo cut its deficit to 27-12 with a little spurt, Pulaski answered with an 11-0 run. Robaidek put in seven points to kick the Red Raiders’ lead to 26 points.
Pulaski went into halftime up 45-17. The lead hit 34 points, and coach Shaw was able to get his reserves in the game for extended minutes.
“We want to just go game by game and in games kind of half by half,” coach Shaw said. “I thought our second half we got a little loose, and so we need to tighten things up. We need to learn and expand our bench, which we were able to do today. We’ll just take one step at a time.”
Earning a big victory early in the season should give the Pulaski players some added confidence.
“We don’t get too many blowout wins, so it’s good to have one of those,” Derek Shaw said.
After going 2-11 down the stretch last season, Shaw and his teammates feel better about where they are at this point in the season.
“One-hundred percent. I feel like we’ve got some guys that didn’t come out last year that thought they would and they’re here and they’re producing,” Shaw said.