If this is going to be how it is in the North Eastern Conference every game night, Wrightstown Tiger fans are going to have to start taking some heart medicine.
The Tigers of head coach Cory Haese were in another down-to-the-wire basketball game against another LC opponent, this time the Little Chute Mustangs. Holding a lead as big as 14, and watching the Mustangs fight back all night long, the Tigers were able to hold on for a 77-71 North Eastern Conference victory and improve to 4-0 on the young season.
“We knew coming in that Little Chute is explosive. They have a couple kids that can really stroke it and a couple kids that can put the ball on the deck and get to the rack,” coach Haese said. “They made it difficult on us.”
Wrightstown (3-0 North Eastern Conference) started out strong, eventually building a small lead over the Mustangs in the first half. Little Chute battle back, cutting a 10 point lead in half, 27-22. At that point, Stephen DeCramer took over for the Tigers. The 6’2 senior led the way in a 9-0 run that pushed the Tiger lead to 14. DeCramer had six points and two rebounds during the run. He finished with 12 points.
“On defense, basically we were able to stop their penetration on defense, getting our hands up and boxing out and getting the ball before they did,” DeCramer said. “On offense, it was pretty much us doing what we do; taking advantage of the size and length advantage that we had.”
Even with the advantages, the Tigers still struggled to keep up with the very athletic Mustangs. Coach Haese had to make a switch at one point to something that he isn’t a big fan of.
“We had a hard time stopping them because they run flex so well,” he said. “We had to go zone at the end with our length, which I hate to do, but we had to make them work a little bit because we couldn’t stop them.”
Zac Haese continues to have a stellar senior season. The 6’3 guard poured in 37 points, including 22 in the second half. As a matter of fact, for nearly 15 minutes of the second half, Haese was the ONLY Tiger to score a point. He kept Wrightstown from completely squandering the lead, but his shooting did not sit well with dad, who also happens to be his head coach.
“We need to get some out guys to score,” the head coach said. “I thought Zac shot a lot, and though haven’t seen the stats, he made a lot. But if we are going to go deep (in the playoffs), or do something special this season, we can’t rely on one guy to do the scoring.”
Austin DeCleene added 14 points. Devin Plate paced the Mustangs with 18 points, while Parker Gloudemans added 17 points. The loss drops the Mustangs to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the North Eastern Conference.
“Initially I thought we handled the zone rather well,” Said Mustang head coach Mickey Martin. “We were getting good shots and we kinda went away from that. We kinda got back to it later, but we just didn’t make good decisions against the zone late.”
Next up for the Tigers are back-to-back home games, a conference tilt with Denmark on Friday, December 18th, and a battle with non-conference foe Kewaunee on Saturday, December 19th. The game against Denmark has a 7:15pm tip, and the Kewaunee game is scheduled for a 5pm start.