Boys basketball: Oconto Falls runs out of steam in OT

Panthers lose conference clash to Clintonville
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Oconto Falls senior Dakota Carriveau, right, looks to make a pass as Clintonville’s Sam Wittman defends during the Nov. 30 game in Oconto Falls. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

In an electric and energetic atmosphere at Oconto Falls High School on Friday, the Oconto Falls boys basketball team fell just short in an overtime thriller against North Eastern Conference foe Clintonville.

After the teams battled back-and-forth for the entire game, it was Clintonville that went on a 5-0 run in overtime before connecting on enough free throws down the stretch to claim the 72-67 final.

“Our guys will never quit. They will battle all night long so I don’t ever worry about that,” Oconto Falls coach Kirk Hirst said. “Clintonville is a different team than they were last year — give all the credit to them, they played well.

“We took some bad shots when we shouldn’t have and turned the ball over way too much in the second half,” Hirst continued. “But our guys are never going to quit — they are still going to fight, they are always going to battle.”

Oconto Falls (1-1) had a chance to take the lead in overtime but after a missed jumper, senior Dakota Carriveau was tagged with his fifth foul and forced to sit the remainder of overtime.

Clintonville (2-0) missed the ensuing two free throws but got a big 3-pointer the next time down the court to take the lead. After forcing another stop, the Truckers converted another shot after grabbing an offensive rebounds to go up five.

Oconto Falls scored its first overtime point on a free throw by junior Jarod Parson with just 1 minute, 35 seconds to play.

After ramping up the defensive pressure and forcing a steal, the Panthers could not convert a layup to cut the deficit to two and instead had to foul, which allowed Clintonville to go back up five.

“We just have to play better defense and then not let other teams get transition points, junior Mitchell Manns said. “In the paint, they outscored us by a lot too.”

A bucket from Manns cut Oconto Falls’ deficit back to three before Clintonville made another free throw to go up four. The Panthers then got a couple good looks from 3-point land but couldn’t cash in.

Clintonville sealed its win on an and-one layup with about 15 seconds to play.

Manns led Oconto Falls with 24 points, doing most of the damage in the first half. He also tallied seven rebounds and a team-high four steals.

Carriveau totaled 13 points, five assists and six rebounds while senior Connor Peetz tallied nine points. Senior Joe Schoen chipped in seven points while Parsons had six.

As a team, Oconto Falls made 10 3-pointers to just nine 2-point makes. Manns buried five of those 3s while Carriveau and Peetz each added two.

The Panthers converted just 17 of 33 free throw attempts.

While the game was tight throughout, Oconto Falls struggled at the start of each half. The Panthers had to rally from an early eight-point deficit in the first half and and then watched Clintonville open the second half on a 5-0 run to regain the lead.

“I don’t know. It happened against Suring too, we came out a little slow in the second half. I don’t know what it is, we just got to be ready to play,” coach Hirst said of the team’s slow starts.

“We can’t come out slow. We’ve got to be fired up from the tip-off to the last whistle,” Carriveau said. “I think we will be fine, we just came out a little flat tonight but I’m not worried about it for the future.”

While the loss was a frustrating one, the Panthers know that it’s far too early to start panicking and know some of the details they need to clean up in order to come out on top of tight games as the season goes forward.

Oconto Falls will play its next three games on the road before returning home to face Waupaca on Friday, Dec. 14.

Clintonville (72)

Cameron Mauel 4-8 8, Gerald Wood 0-0 4, Presley Rosenow 0-0 8, Sean Finger 0-0 2, Matthew Morse 0-2 2, Alberto Dominguez 2-4 9, Dylan Danforth 0-0 3, Sam Wittman 0-2 7, Aiden Polzin 4-7 21, Nathan Morse 0-2 8.

Oconto Falls (65)

Dylan Nelson 0-0 3, Mitchell Manns 3-5 24, Joe Schoen 5-7 7, Kade Brabant 1-2 3, Dakota Carriveau 3-8 13, Jarod Parsons 4-9 6, Connor Peetz 1-2 9.

Clintonville 33 29 (10) — 72

Oconto Falls 35 27 (3) — 65