You can call it sloppy play. Or very good defense.
Whatever, it cost Eau Claire Memorial a whole bunch of shots at the basket and at least played a major factor in the outcome.
State power La Crosse Central forced the Old Abes into 26 turnovers and it led to a 78-61 win Tuesday night at the Eagles Nest.
“It’s something we try to do, we like defensive pressure,” said Central coach Todd Fergot. “We like to get the opponent uncomfortable and I think we did that tonight.”
Seventeen of the Memorial turnovers came in the first half as Central shot out to a 45-30 lead.
“We did not do a good job responding to their pressure,” Memorial coach Chad Brieske said. “We can do a lot better individually playing out of the trap. When you get through that, you get some baskets.”
The Old Abes did not do that and were limited to just 33 field attempts, of which they made 18, not a bad percentage.
Playing a role in the Red Raider defense – and all other aspects of the game – were the 6-foot-5 Davis twins, Jordan and Johnny. They combined for 51 points, Johnny getting 26 and Jordan 25.
“It’s good to have them on our side,” Fergot said.
They came, of course, as no surprise to Brieske and the Abes.
“We were very aware of them,” he said. “We wanted to make them work for their shots. And at times, we did that. But they are very good.”
Memorial countered early with the 3-point shooting of 6-foot-7 Caden Boser. He popped in four in a 17-point first half and finished with 23 points before fouling out late in the game.
The Abes were hurt when 6-foot-5 Nathan Hau went down with a knee injury just over six minutes into the game. He returned to play a couple minutes later in the half but did not play in the second half.
“It was a tight game when he went out and that didn’t help any,” Brieske said. “We don’t know the extent of the injury.”
But Central pulled away quickly and Memorial was never in contention the rest of the way. The Raiders took a peak lead of 64-37 midway in the second half before the Old Abes cashed in some down the stretch led by Tanner Linduski and Altherelle Robbins.
“Memorial is a good team and is going to do OK,” Fergot said.
Linduski scored 11 points off the bench and the 5-foot-8 Robbins added nine points and led the Abes with six rebounds.
“When you play a good team like Central, you learn a lot,” Brieske said. “Central is at the level we want to be at and it gives us a chance to see what we have to do to be at that level.”
Central, a state tournament team the past three years, won the Division 2 state championship two years ago and lost to Milwaukee Washington in last year’s semifinals.
CENTRAL 78, MEMORIAL 61
Central — FGM-FGA FTM-FTA TP: Jordan Davis 9-14-2-3 25, Charlie Masewicz 1-3 3-3 5, Austin Brown 2-7 0-2 4, De’Andre Davis 2-3 0-1 4, Johnny Davis 10-17 5-6 26, Payton Fife 0-0 0-2 0, Noah Parcher 4-6 1-2 9, Brecken Austin 2-2 0-1 5, Jacob Servais 0-2 0-0 0, David Hayden 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-55 11-20 78.
Memorial — Caden Boser 9-13 1-2 23, Nathan Hau 1-1 0-2 2, Ethan Van Grunsven 1-1 3-6 6, Simon Larson 1-1 2-4 5, Altherelle Robbins 2-3 5-7 9, Connor Stoik 0-3 0-0 0, Tanner Linduski 3-8 3-4 11, Colin Dueringer 0-0 0-1 0, Jovandas Crowder 0-1 2-2 2, Landon Van Grunsven 1-2 0-0 3, Vince Trapani 0-0 0-0 0, Devin Butler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-33 16-28 61.
Halftime: Central 45-30. 3-point goals: Central 7-16 (Jordan Davis 5-8, Johnny Davis 1-3, Austin 1-1, Brown 0-3, Parcher 0-1), Memorial 9-22 (Boser 4-8, Linduski 2-6, E. Van Grunsven 1-1, L. Van Grunsven 1-2, Larson 1-1, Stoik 0-3, Crowder 0-1). Rebounds: Central 31 (Johnny Davis 8, Jordan Davis 5), Memorial 30 (Robbins 6, Boser 5). Total fouls: Central 22, Memorial 20. Fouled out: Boser (M). Turnovers: Central 11, Memorial 26. Officials: Wayne Brevik, Brian Bergeson, Jim Zawacki. Records: Central 2-0. Memorial 2-1.