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Athens shocks Marathon

Athens shocks Marathon Athens shocks Marathon

‘Jays have only beaten Raiders twice in 48 years

By Casey Krautkramer

People can count with their fingers on one hand the number of wins the Athens varsity boys basketball team has against Marathon in the past 63 years.

It’s understandable then why Athens junior Cobie Ellenbecker was pumped up in showing how excited he was feeling after his team’s 65-63 road win against Marathon on Friday. After all, it was only Athens’ fourth win against Marathon since 1957. Cobie’s older brother, Collin, was on the last Bluejays’ team that defeated the Red Raiders, 50-44, on December 28, 2013, in the former Marathon holiday basketball tournament.

Before 2013, Athens hadn’t beaten Marathon since Jan. 20, 1972, when the team snapped a 15-year losing streak that began after the Bluejays’ victory against the Red Raiders on Jan. 25, 1957.

The 1957 Athens squad defeated Marathon, 57-50, and the team consisted of players such as Ed Gauthier, Sidney Ellenbecker, Ted Calmes, Norb Nowacki, Ed Gesicki, Fred Belz, Ed Lehman and Jerry Tessmer.

Mark Peter’s hot shooting led the Bluejays to a 64-52 win against the Red Raiders in 1972. Peter scored 14 of his 26 points in the first period and Glenn Kunze added 20 points for the Bluejays. Athens head coach Larry Conner was excited with the great defense Al Bergmann, Jerry Murkowski, Dale Literski and Tom Henrichs played against Marathon in the 1972 victory.

Moving ahead to Athens’ win against Marathon on Jan. 24, 2020, Bluejays co-head coach Aaron Ellenbecker said many times after the game how “proud” he is of the players on this year’s team. Two of his sons, Collin and now Cobie, were players on Athens boys basketball teams that have beaten Marathon.

“I had goosebumps on my skin when I went into the locker room after the game,” Aaron said. “I’m so happy for the boys; they played their hearts out. They know how big that win was for the team, because you could see it after the game was over; they had so much emotion and were just pumped.”

Athens players fed off its fans loudly cheering behind the team bench, whenever they exited the huddle during a timeout near the end of the game. Athens junior Dayne Diethelm admitted after the game he and his teammates couldn’t have pulled off the big win against Marathon without the large contingent of Bluejay fans in attendance.

“This was a huge win for our team,” Diethelm said. “It was like a playoff atmosphere in the gym. We came out onto the basketball floor and we were like, ‘holy cow there’s a lot of people here watching us.’” Athens held a slim 31-29 lead at halftime against Marathon on Friday. The Bluejays continued to play solid defense in the second half to hold off the Red Raiders for the victory.

The Bluejays made a living at the freethrow line on Friday by converting 19 of its 31 free throws, while Marathon made five of its eight attempts. Although Athens held a considerable advantage at the free throw line, Marathon still had its chances to win the game at the end.

Athens sophomore Cooper Diedrich and Marathon junior Matt Vande Boom traded made three point shots, with the Bluejays holding onto a 62-59 lead with 49 seconds left in Friday’s game. Athens then turned the ball over but Marathon sophomore Jaden Koeller’s three-point shot rimmed out and Diethelm grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled by Red Raiders sophomore Nathan Hanke. Diethelm made one of his two free throw attempts to give the Bluejays a 63-59 advantage with 26 seconds remaining. Marathon junior Brock Warren scored a quick basket to trim Athens’ lead to only two points with 12 seconds left in the game. Senior Nathan Trawicki quickly fouled Diedrich, who calmly sank both his free throws to extend Athens’ lead back to four points. Warren scored another quick basket to make it a two-point game again with eight seconds remaining.

The Red Raiders fouled Bluejays senior center Cameron Ford, who missed both his free throws, with a little more than six seconds left in the game. Still, Marathon had an opportunity to tie the game and force overtime. Diedrich picked up his fifth foul but Red Raiders senior Kole Kaldunski missed his first bonus free throw to end the game.

Diedrich drained four three pointers toward his game-high 22 points against Marathon. Ford made all eight of the twopoint field goals he attempted to score 21 points. Ford also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, including 10 of which were on defense. Diethelm added 15 points and six offensive rebounds. Diedrich led the Bluejays with five assists and five steals.

Jaden Koeller paced Marathon with 20 points and seven rebounds. Vande Boom contributed 11 points. Senior Clarke Mouw had 10 points and he paced the Red Raiders with nine assists. Brock Warren added nine points in the loss.

Bluejays fall to Loggers

Athens couldn’t muster a comeback against Phillips, losing 64-60, on the road Tuesday. The Bluejays fell behind early, 32-23, at halftime and their rally fell short in the second half.

Ford led Athens with 22 points, seven steals and 16 rebounds. Diedrich added 18 points and eight rebounds. Senior Javon Penney paced the team with five assists. Athens now has a 6-5 record in the Marawood North Conference and is 9-5 overall this season.

Athens beat Nekoosa, 56-44, in a nonconference home game on Jan. 21. Ford scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, including 10 of them on defense. Penney added 12 points and six defensive rebounds in the victory.

Raiders lose to Apaches

Marathon succumbed to Auburndale, 61-54, at home on Tuesday. Mouw led the Red Raiders with 16 points. Warren added 13 points and junior Mike Hahn 11. Marathon now has a 5-5 record in the Marawood South Conference and is 5-8 overall this season.

Raider girls down Bluejays

The Marathon girls basketball team beat Athens, 67-53, at home on Friday. The Red Raiders jumped out to a comfortable 37-25 lead at halftime.

Senior Elizabeth Boehm paced Marathon with 20 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Eight of Boehm’s nine rebounds were on the defensive end of the floor. Senior Kyli Blume contributed 18 points, five assists and three steals. Junior Hope Krautkramer hauled down seven rebounds, including six of them on defense. Sophomore Allison Wokatsch added 12 points.

Athens senior Allison Wolf paced her team with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the loss, while sophomore Elizabeth Van Rixel added nine points. Senior Abby Van Rixel contributed seven points, nine rebounds and five steals. Athens now has a 4-11 overall record this season.

Marathon fell to Loyal, 58-47, in a non-conference home game on Monday. Blume paced the Red Raiders with 12 points and junior Anna Cleven had 11. Wokatsch added 10 points and Marguerite Stoffel eight. Hope Krautkramer paced the team with 10 rebounds. Marathon now has an 8-6 overall record this season.

Stratford boys unbeaten

The Stratford boys basketball team is still undefeated with a 14-0 record this season after its two most recent wins.

Stratford downed Phillips, 63-44, on the road Friday. Senior Ben Barten led the Tigers with 23 points. Seniors Vaughn Breit, Teddy Redman and Chandler Schmidt added nine points apiece. Barten and Breit paced the team with nine rebounds each. Schmidt led the Tigers with 12 assists.

The Tigers upended the Wausau Newman Cardinals, 86-59, at home on Tuesday. Redman led the Tigers with 21 points and six steals. Barten added 14 points and Breit 12. Barten paced the team with nine rebounds and Breit had eight. Junior Max Vanderhoof scored eight points and he led the Tigers with seven assists.

Tiger girls basketball loses

Stratford’s girls basketball team fell, 46-37, in a road game against Phillips on Friday. The Tigers couldn’t hold onto a 26-18 lead at halftime.

Senior Tanaya Schillinger led Stratford with 12 points and three steals. Junior Emily Hughes paced the Tigers with 12 rebounds and she added 10 points. Junior Breanna Ackley added nine points and 11 rebounds, and she led the team with six blocks and three assists.

Stratford lost, 56-28, to Wittenberg-Birnamwood in a non-conference home game on Monday. Stratford now has a 4-12 overall record this season.