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MEDFORD BOYS BASKETBALL - Shots not falling; Raiders tested early with 0-3 start

Shots not falling; Raiders tested early with 0-3 start
Medford’s Charlie Gierl is determined to get past Onalaska defender Ian Kowal during the second half of Monday’s 82-50 loss to the highly-ranked Hilltoppers. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS
Shots not falling; Raiders tested early with 0-3 start
Medford’s Charlie Gierl is determined to get past Onalaska defender Ian Kowal during the second half of Monday’s 82-50 loss to the highly-ranked Hilltoppers. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS


There were stretches where Medford hung right with Onalaska Monday, but over the course of 36 minutes the Hilltoppers just had too much size and too much athleticism for the Raiders in an 82-50 non-conference victory at Raider Hall.

The state’s fourth-ranked Division 2 according to the season’s first WisSports. net coaches poll, Onalaska had five players score at least nine points, shot 47.2% from the field, outrebounded the Raiders 47-30 and got 12 steals and 16 points off turnovers in its second win of the season.

Medford ended its tough four-day stretch to start the year 0-3, but in some ways this 32-point defeat was its best effort of that stretch.

“There’s only one way to get better and that’s to play good teams,” Medford head coach Ryan Brown said. “They’re really good. They’re long at every position, athletic at every position. Every kid can put it on the floor and shoot it. It puts a lot of pressure on your defense, but it makes us have to try to play and rotate the way we need to beat good teams.

“We had five guys who were trying to fly around and compete for rebounds and just do the things that we need to get better at,” Brown added. “The first two games were a matter of not shooting the ball well and not rebounding the ball well. Hopefully this sort of intensity that you need, even though they still got offensive rebounds on us, can move over to when we play Mosinee on Friday and into next week.”

Onalaska’s 6-4 senior standout Evan Anderson made his return to competition from a football injury on Monday and led the Hilltoppers with 17 points while adding four rebounds, four assists and two steals. He threw down two dunks in a 15-point first half where Onalaska pulled out to a 48-28 lead.

Medford got a game-high 19 points from Tanner Hraby, who started to find his shooting stroke after a tough start in the first two games. Hraby had six rebounds and four assists. “I thought Tanner was absolutely phenomenal,” Brown said. “On film (Onalaska’s Noah Chenault) was unstoppable against Menomonie when Anderson was out. No one could stay in front of him and I thought Tanner made him turn and turn. He still made some shots through two or three guys. He had 12 points but they were a hard-earned 12. Tanner ran the show well versus their pressure and times they trapped. He just had a good mix of attacking the basket, passing the basketball and shooting it.”

Medford did lead once at 2-0 on a basket by Nick Steliga. Hraby scored inside and hit a 3 to make it 17-9 and hit another 3 to pull the Raiders within 20-12 seven minutes in. Conner Klingbeil answered two Anderson hoops with a triple to make it 25-15, but Medford would be no closer the rest of the way.

After the half, Medford played a solid stretch of basketball, getting several stops, including one on a blocked shot by Charlie Gierl on 6-7 Isaac Skemp. The ensuing possession ended with a 3 by Klingbeil to make it 50-34. Hraby’s reverse layup made it 55-36 but then Onalaska went on an 11-0 spurt that made it 66-36 and put the game away.

“The second half we wanted to try to win that second half and for that first seven, eight minutes we cut into the lead a little bit, got it to 15, 16,” Brown said. “Then they just had those little runs that good teams do where they knock a couple down in a row and we go cold. We just want to learn from this. In this threegame stretch, you see things you want to fix after game one, and you don’t get a practice to do it. Hopefully we can take the next three days, rest a little bit but at the same time practice hard and get ready for Mosinee.”

Steliga, Klingbeil and Gierl finished with six points apiece. Gierl had five rebounds and three assists and competed with all-out effort.

“Charlie plays as hard as he can every night,” Brown said. “He never lacks the effort. There’s some things tonight he can get better with. He got the challenge of being defended by a Division I player (Anderson) and defend a Division I player. I think he learned some things from that. At the same time he should grow in confidence because I think there were times where he did win his one-on-one.”

Carson Carbaugh, Hayden Koester and Peyton Ried all hit a 3-point shot for the Raiders. Koester had four rebounds and two assists.

As Brown mentioned, Medford travels to the GNC’s pre-season title favorite Mosinee Friday for a 7:15 p.m. tip and then heads back to the Wausau area for another tough matchup Tuesday at D.C. Everest.

Chi-Hi 81, Medford 70

On Saturday afternoon, host Chippewa Falls seemingly couldn’t miss in the first half while leading by as much as 16, extended the lead to 19 in the second half and then held off a furious Medford rally that cut the lead to two but never got over the hump in an 81-70 non-conference final.

The Cardinals were 22 of 34 from the field in the first half (64.7%) while building a 50-34 halftime lead. That included six of 11 from 3-point range. For the second straight day, Medford did not shoot well but the Raiders got enough stops and shots to fall in the second half to make a game of it. Hraby’s driving lay-in pulled Medford within 68-66 with 5:05 left and 15 seconds later he got a steal and a chance to tie it, but his contested layup rolled off the rim. Chi-Hi got a rebound basket by David Terhark and a 3-pointer from Easton Bobb to go back by seven and held on from there to go to 1-1 at the time.

Medford put up an incredible 76 shots, including 46 3-pointers. But only 22 fell (28.9%), including just nine of the 3s (19.6%). Medford went 17 of 18 from the free throw line, a big reason it gave itself a chance to steal a win at the end.

“That’s hard when you have to spend the whole time battling back,” Brown said. “(Chi-Hi) was on fire. It was unbelievable. We felt like that was another one where we put ourselves in a hole, fought all the way back and started to do things the way we expect them to do. Now we just have to do it for two halves.”

Carson Wedemeyer, a 6-5 senior, led Chi-Hi’s offensive attack with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field, plus he had 10 rebounds. Braden Dickerson, a 6-2 senior, added 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Terhark had just six points but he had 16 rebounds and five assists to play a key role for the home team.

Hraby scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half. He hit five 3-pointers and added four steals. Gierl scored 22 points and had six rebounds and three assists. Klingbeil hit three 3s and scored 15 points. Steliga added a 3-point bucket and Owen Stockwell hit two early free throws while grabbing six rebounds.

The Cardinals led 60-41 with 12:52 to go when Medford started its comeback. Gierl got a three-point play and later hit two more free throws and Hraby sank a 3 to make it 60-49. Hraby’s three-point play off a steal and a triple from Klingbeil got it down to seven at 62-55. The lead went back to 10 at 68-58 when Hraby scored, Gierl scored off a steal, Gierl scored again and Hraby got the bucket in an 8-0 run that got the deficit down to two.

Lakeland 57, Medford 53

In Friday’s season, home and GNC opener, the Raiders got off to a good start and finished strong, but they didn’t find much of a rhythm in between and fell 57-53 to Lakeland, who got its first win under new head coach Jacob Jarvensivu.

The loss snapped a 17-game GNC winning streak for Medford’s program, who shot just 27.9% from the field and was outrebounded 52-33. The Raiders were just eight of 18 from the free throw line, which loomed large when a late rally fell a possession or two short.

“Overall as a team I thought our shot selection hurt us,” Brown said. With the pace we played, that was fine. We created a lot of turnovers. I think they had 24 to our 14. But we have to turn those into points. We had some opportunities to turn those into points. We missed a lot of shots inside. I thought we attacked the paint well but either missed shots or just didn’t do well embracing the contact.”

Medford was just seven of 32 on 3-point shots but still outscored Lakeland 21-9 from behind the arc. Lakeland, though, got 38 points in the paint.

Medford jumped ahead 8-2 and 12-6, but then went cold, falling behind for the first time 15-14 on a Danny Gahler 3. It was 19-14 when Medford went on a 7-2 spurt, capped by a Gierl 3, to force a 21-21 halftime tie.

Stockwell scored five points, Gierl got a putback and Klingbeil hit a 3 to push Medford to a 31-28 lead early in the second half and Klingbeil continued to spark the offense with a driving three-point play and a steal that put the Raiders up 37-31 with 12:17 to go. But the Raiders then went ice cold and Lakeland went on a 16-1 tear that turned the game around.

Down by as many as 11, Medford stormed back late, getting within 55-50 on a Hraby score with 38 seconds left and 5553 on a Gierl 3 with 18.2 seconds to go, but Gahler sank two big free throws with 16.9 seconds left and the Raiders missed their last three field goal tries.

Gierl had 17 points, 9 rebounds and three steals. Klingbeil was five of 11 from the field, including three of seven on 3s while scoring 15 points. Hraby had one of those nights shooters dread but wound up with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Stockwell scored seven points, Steliga had three and Koester had one.

Hakken Berklund led Lakeland with 14 points. Gahler added 11.

Medford’s Owen Stockwell and Lakeland’s Hakken Berklund battle for the opening tip Friday night. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS