Blue Devils outworked by Bears

Josh Staloch

OCONTO – The Oconto boys basketball team was eliminated from the playoffs in the opening round of sectional action on Thursday, March 7 following a 76-59 loss to Bonduel at Green Bay Southwest.

“It was on point tonight,” said Oconto head coach Antowan Epps of the Bears’ effort on the boards Thursday. “That’s the difference in the game right there. Just the simple fundamentals like boxing out, they beat us on that. They just beat us to the punch all night. They’re a little bit quicker than we are and they gave a little bit more than we did tonight.”

The two teams were neck-and-neck early on, with no more than three points separating them over the first nine minutes of the game. But a second-chance bucket, followed by a stop and a three-pointer, all by Bonduel, put the Bears up 24-15 midway through the opening half.

Cooper Campshure hit a three with about six minutes to go in the first to bring the score to 24-18 and then Jackson Martin, with about two minutes to go, hit a three to keep the gap at eight going into the locker room at the break with Bonduel leading 32-24.

The Bears, taking advantage of second-chance opportunities thanks to aggressive rebounding, built up a 10-point lead at 41-31 to begin the second half and they maintained that gap for most of the rest of the contest. 

The Blue Devils managed to dig into the lead a bit later on, beginning with a spectacular play that saw Carter Koch hit a three in the corner while getting fouled for a four-point swing. 

Minutes later, Koch picked up a highlight-reel assist to Martin down low for an easy bucket to make it 56-50 and then Campshure came up with a big steal and a bucket to trim the Bears’ lead to four at 56-52.

Bonduel responded with eight unanswered, aided greatly by solid rebounding, to build its lead back into double digits and close things out. 

“I thought our guys worked really hard against a very good team,” said coach Epps. “I’m so proud of these dudes. They gave it everything they had all season, they all made a lot of sacrifices. But we had some great, great moments this season. We had a better record than we had last season, we did better in conference. We had some moments this season that all of our guys and our coaching staff can be proud of.”

Koch was Oconto’s leading scorer with 16 points, followed by 15 from Martin and 12 from Campshure.


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