By Brady Ambrose
After starting the season by winning seven of their first eight games, the Caledonia varsity boys basketball team now finds themselves in a bit of rut as they have lost four of their last five, including a pair of losses last week to P-E-M and La Crosse Logan.
On Saturday night the Warriors (8-5) lost a non-conference battle to Logan (5-9) 65-56 at home after Logan junior Tanner Pierzina scored 23 points, 21 of them in the second half. After starting the game 1-4 in the first half, Pierzina hit seven of eight in the second half, including five three pointers.
Leading 23-21 at the break Caledonia could do little to stop Pierzina, who scored 12 of Logan’s first 16 points in the second half and gave the Rangers a 37-35 lead with his fourth straight trey to open up the half.
“We held them to 21 in the first half – we had so many open looks we should have pushed the lead and we didn’t,” said coach Josh Diersen. “We had about a four minute span where we had six footers and we didn’t put the ball in the basket.”
The first half was a draw as neither team could put together any sort of run. Logan led 11-7 early but Caledonia tied the game on a jumper by Kyle Sorenson. The Warriors took a 16-15 lead on a 3-pointer from Austin Bauer, who led Caledonia with 17 points in the game. Logan tied the game at 21 all with 18 seconds left in the half, but an offensive rebound and basket by Kevin Lapham at the buzzer gave the Warriors a two-point lead at the break.
The game stayed close at the start of the second half. A free throw from Logan senior Anton Gilmore knotted the score at 28 all. Caledonia then opened up a seven point lead but Pierzina hit back-to-back treys to put the Rangers up 37-35. Bauer answered with a jumper for Caledonia to tie the score at 37, but the Rangers went up 41-37 with 8:52 to play. Nathan Rohrer pulled the Warriors within a point at 41-40 with a 3-pointer, but Logan went on a 9-2 run to open up a 50-42 lead with 4:38 to play. A basket from West Spier and Rohrer’s second 3-pointer of the half got Caledonia back in the game at 50-47 but the Warriors would get no closer.
“I thought we crashed the boards hard and our bigs played hard. West and Kevin played their butts off, but we need to finish and we need to start to attack.”
Pierzina led all scorers with 23 points and Spier added an even dozen for the Warriors, who were outscored at the free throw line by 14 points.
The boys started the week with a 73-60 loss to P-E-M. The Bulldogs led 36-33 at the break but outscored the Warriors by 10 in the second half for the 13 point win. Bauer again led Caledonia in scoring with 20 points, and Sorenson and Nord tossed in 10 points each. Caledonia hosted Kingsland Tuesday night and will host Chatfield Thursday night before traveling to Saint Charles Jan. 29
Logan 21 44 — 65
Caledonia 23 33 — 56
LOGAN (5-9): Rank 5, Bakalars 12, Elmore 2, Waite 3, House 6, Pierzina 23, Gilmore 14.
CALEDONIA (8-5): Kearney 2, Rohrer 6, Sorenson 5, Nord 5, Bauer 17, Lapham 9, Spier 12.
Caledonia 33 27 — 60
P-E-M 36 37 — 73
CALEDONIA (8-4, 6-4): Kearney 4, Rohrer 4, Twite 2, Sorenson 10, Nord 10, Bauer 20, Burg 2, Lapham 6, Spier 2.
PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE (9-5, 8-1): Slawson 5, Stelow 1, Barnes 14, Thompson 15, Sexton 9, Ziebell 3, McGuire 1, Rau 2, Shanks 21.