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Speedboys race back to beat Cardinals


Pat Krause/Daily Globe photo

Bessemer's Max Samardich shoots as Wakefield-Marenisco's Kevin Lane, left, defends, and W-M's Shane Cole trails the shot during Thursday's game at the House of Noise in Bessemer.

BESSEMER - A change in strategy and a scorching third quarter lifted Bessemer to an emotional 72-58 victory in an Indianhead and Porcupine Mountain Conference battle in the House of Noise on Thursday night.

Wakefield-Marenisco had played well and took a 35-26 lead into half-time. During the second quarter, the Cardinals had pushed their lead up to 14-points at 24-10.

"We started out really well," W-M coach Terry Fetters said. "The kids really wanted to play and were fired up. And we were hitting our 3s."

But the third quarter changed everything.

It started with a Lance Berwald drive to the basket. Kevin Lane drained one of W-M's ten 3s. A long pass to Zack Mazurek resulted in a lay-up and then Mazurek came back with a triple from the right wing to pull the Speedboys within 38-36.

Bessemer's Max Samardich stole the ball near mid-court and went in for a lay-up that tied the game at 38-38. You could feel the storm clouds rising. When the ball was passed into Hunter Reed in the post, he muscled up a shot and made his foul shot as Bessemer went ahead 43-42 for the first time since early in the game.

Berwald made a steal and a basket and then splashed a 3 with 2:27 left in the quarter. The Bessemer crowd was energized as the Speedboys increased its lead to 48-42.

Mazurek was just getting warmed up as he buried a long 3 from the left corner and then took a shot from the top of the key and the ball hit on the front rim, bounce up and fell in.

The third quarter ended with the Speedboys on top 54-42 as they had out-scored the Cardinals 28-7 in the quarter.

"Jim (Partanen) made some half-time adjustments and we were hesitant to take it to the basket," Fetters said. "Zack Mazurek lit us up in the third quarter. He just killed us with four 3s in the quarter. We were a step slow contesting shots. We had some sick kids and I credit them for playing. And Berwald really plays hard."

Partanen revealed what he changed up at halftime.

"We did change some things at half-time," Partanen said. "We were trying to trap in the front court and we weren't getting any steals. We changed things up and forced the action at mid-court and it gave the back-line guys time to react to the ball. Lance Berwald and Andrew Peterson ended up playing man-to man defense in the front and the big guys played zone in back. And Lance does so much with assists and compliments the big guys. Every time Hunter (Reed) comes in, he makes things happen and (Josh) Tomes is big and athletic and can go sideline to sideline on the press."

Partanen said the Speedboys came into the locker-room at halftime "disgusted but not down."

"Besides changing our press, we decided to play our game on offense," Partanen said. "We wanted to break down their zone. We wanted to start the ball in the post to see if we could get a shot. If there was no shot, we kicked it back out for the 3. It works better that way than if you just keep it outside and try to shoot a 3. And the kids kept the course and had patience."

In the fourth quarter, W-M and Bessemer matched baskets until Peterson drilled a 3-ball and Mazurek banked one home after a drive to the basket. The Speedboys led 64-52 with 2:33 left in the contest

Senior Andrew Metas drilled a 3 at the buzzer to make it a 72-58 final.

"That was a huge win for us in the Indianhead East and really huge in the PMC," Partanen said. "We only have six games in the PMC and it's very even this year. You have to win all your games at home and steal a few on the road."

The Speedboys are now 2-0 in the Indianhead East and 1-0 in the PMC.

Both teams went on three sprees as W-M made 10 triples, while Bessemer sank nine.

After scoring 32 points in his first game, Lane scored 22. Lane is a force inside and spends a lot of his time on the perimeter where he can shoot, drive and create like no other player on the court. Shane Cole was the other Cardinal to reach double figures.

Mazurek led all scorers with 26 points, including six triples. Peterson notched 15 points, while Berwald added 14.

The Cardinals (1-1, 1-1 IC, 0-1 PMC) will not play again until Jan. 5 when they go to Ironwood.

Bessemer (2-0, 2-0 IC, 1-0 PMC) travels to Ewen-Trout Creek on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

W-M - Kevin Lane 22, Tommy Libertoski 8, Nick Orlich 4, Shane Cole 10, Collin Gagnon 6, Nick Tarro 8. FTs: 4-5, Fouls: 15, Fouled out; none, 3-pointers:Lane 4, Gagnon 2, Libertoski 2, Tarro 1.

Bessemer - Max Samardich 2, Andrew Peterson 15, Luke Zielinski 1, Andrew Metas 3, Lance Berwald 14, Zack Mazurek 26, Hunter Reed 5, Josh Tomes 2. FTs: 9-15, Fouls: 13, Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Mazurek 6, Metas 1, Peterson 1, Berwald 1.

W-M 17 35 42 58

Bessemer 8 25 54 72


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