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Raiders on a hot streak

Raiders on a hot streak Raiders on a hot streak

Team utilizes its 1-3-1 to get steals for quick points

By Casey Krautkramer

Marathon’s varsity boys basketball team is on a fourgame winning streak, thanks in large part to its stifling 1-3-1 zone defense.

The Red Raiders downed the Auburndale Eagles, 61-52, at home on Tuesday. The senior duo of Jaden Koeller and Brock Warren achieved double- digit scoring, as Koeller pumped in a game-high 21 points and Warren had 17. Auburndale was also led by its senior tandem of Hunter Wright, who tallied 16 points, and Carl Lundgren with 14.

Marathon improves its record to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Marawood South Conference this season, while Auburndale falls to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the South. Marathon’s lone loss this season was to Marawood South foe Wausau Newman, but since then the Red Raiders have reeled off four straight victories.

The Red Raiders also dumped the Stanley-Boyd Orioles, 67-39, on the road Monday. Marathon’s defense forced Stanley-Boyd into committing 26 turnovers. Junior Nathan Hanke led four Marathon scorers in doubledigit points with 15. Warren contributed 12 points and fellow seniors Matt Vande Boom had 11 and Mike Hahn 10.

Vande Boom, while playing guard, led the Red Raiders with nine rebounds. Hahn paced the team with seven rebounds and four assists, while junior forward Ben Robbins led Mara- thon with five steals.

Marathon’s dominating 1-3-1 zone defense forced Rib Lake into committing 30 turnovers in the Red Raiders’ 63-38 home win on Thursday. After only leading 20-14 at halftime, Marathon switched to playing a 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half and converted Rib Lake’s turnovers into quick points.

Marathon head coach Adam Jacobson said his team plays multiple defenses against its opponents, for example the Red Raiders started out playing a traditional man-to-man defense against the Redmen. Jacobson decided his squad needed a spark to begin the second half, so he switched to playing a 1-3-1 zone defense to force Rib Lake into committing more turnovers to give the Red Raiders more opportunities to score on offense.

“Our shots weren’t falling so I wanted to see if we could create some offense from our defense,” Jacobson said. “Fortunately, our defense kept us close while we were struggling offensively in the first half, and then we broke the game open in the second half.”

The 1-3-1 zone defense consists of one defender playing at the point of the ball, three defenders at the free throw line and one defender on the baseline. The object of the 1-3-1 zone defense is to force the opponent into turning over the ball. Marathon’s defenders anticipate any passes made to attempt to steal the ball.

A two-man trap is then implemented when the Red Raiders guide the opposing team’s ball handler toward a corner and then another defender quickly closes to trap the ball. This trap often forces the ball handler to make a bad pass that gets stolen for a breakout layup.

Former Marathon star basketball player Cody Hanke, who is the all-time scoring leader in Marathon boy’s basketball history, was the one defender playing at the point of the ball during the Red Raiders’ 2011 WIAA Division 4 state championship season. Hanke would often steal a pass for a breakaway layup or slam dunk during the team’s games that season.

This season’s Marathon varsity boys basketball squad started its current four-game winning streak by beating Division 2 Rhinelander, 66-52, on the road on Dec. 8. Jaden Koeller led the Red Raiders with 23 points, while Vande Boom had 14 and Warren 10. Senior Jaeden Strasser chipped in nine points in the victory. Vande Boom and Hahn paced the team with four assists each.

Raider girls struggling

Marathon’s varsity girls basketball team has suffered two straight losses to larger schools’ Stevens Point Area High School, 70-36, on Tuesday on the road and to Lakeland Union, 69-35, on Monday at home.

The Red Raiders’ record is now 2-4 this season. Marathon did beat Pittsville, 45-27, at home on Friday. Junior guard Allison Wokatsch led Marathon with 14 points and senior forward Anna Cleven had 10.

Tiger boys are 1-1

Stratford’s varsity boys basketball team won its first game and handed Wausau Newman its only loss this season, 67-54, at home on Tuesday. The Tigers even their record to 1-1 this season while Newman is now 3-1.

Sophomore Cam Daul led Stratford with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Senior Cody Miller chipped in 15 points and sophomore Zack Seitz had seven points and six rebounds. The Tigers shot 47 percent from the floor in the victory.

Stratford lost its first game of the season, 59-49, at Mosinee on Monday. Miller poured in a team-high 19 points and junior Jake Skroch added 12. Daul paced the Tigers with seven rebounds.

GOING HARD TO THE HOOP- Marathon senior Dalton Lang attempts to score a layup in the team’s 63-38 home win against Rib Lake on Thursday. The Red Raiders converted several Redmen turnovers into points.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

PREGAME RITUAL- Marathon’s varsity boys basketball team utilizes a unique team huddle before each of its games.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

PUSHING THE BALL UP THE COURT- Red Raiders junior Noah Gage dribbles the basketball past the Rib Lake sideline, while Gage’s junior teammate, Noah Gajewski, trails him during the second half of Marathon’s home win on Thursday.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER