Goslings start fast, hold off Edgewood
Slow starts killed Watertown’s boys basketball team in Saturday afternoon losses to Oregon and Monroe.
The Goslings finally got out quicker in a two-point loss to Lake Mills on Tuesday, and did it again while facing Badger South rival Madison Edgewood on Thursday.
This time, the fast start paid off. Watertown opened the game on a 7-2 run, pushed the lead to 14 by halftime and just held on for a 52-51 victory.
Senior forward Noah Jeseritz posted his second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Kory Stas led the Goslings with 14 points while junior guard Payton Foltz added 11.
Stas and Foltz worked hard early to find each other and that seemed to spark the offense. Stas had seven points in each half while Foltz knocked down eight of his points before halftime.
Other teammates followed suit.
Junior forward Michael Kuckkan’s lay-in with just over 10 minutes left in the first half made it 17-9.
Junior guard Deon Nailing’s putback pushed the lead to 10 and when Stas scored off an inbounds pass from junior point guard Cade Oiler, the lead was 27-15.
A steal by Oiler led to a pair of free throws from Foltz as Watertown (6-5, 3-4 in conference) took a 29-15 lead into the break.
“We had a good start,” Watertown boys basketball coach Travis Moulton said. “In the first half, I thought we were good offensively and defensively. We had some turnovers where we were dribbling too much, but when we started to share it, we were tough to guard.”
Oiler’s lay-in with 16:46 left in the second half gave Watertown its biggest lead at 31-15.
Edgewood (5-7, 3-4) rallied to tie the game three times in the second half. A 16-0 run followed Oiler’s layin tied it at 31-31.
The Crusaders pulled even twice more and took their only lead at 41-40. Sophomore guard Isandro Jimenez scored eight of his 11 points in the second half, while 6-foot-5 senior Michael Meriggioli scored eight of his team-high 14 points.
“In the second half, they kind of picked up the pressure,” Moulton said.
“They went zone. They took us out of the flow. We told them at half, we were up 14, that the first couple minutes were important. We could get it to 20 or they could make a run. We gave up some offensive rebounds, some transition and just like that, it went down to four and it was grind time for the rest.”
The Goslings hit 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch, but had to survive a 3-point attempt at the horn by Jimenez which failed to reach the rim.
“We did enough,” Moulton said. “That’s definitely not how we wrote it up, them getting a wide open look from the top of the key. It looked good where I was. Luckily, we were able to close it out.
“Coach (Kyle) Krueger said afterwards that we probably pulled it out because of losing to Lake Mills. We got some experience (learning about) closing out games. We made some turnovers in that game that we didn’t make tonight. We did make some, but not as many as we did on Tuesday.
“A win is a win, especially a close win. Hopefully, we can continue to get better and learn how to close out basketball games.”
Watertown takes part in the Badger Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 19 against a Badger North opponent to be determined.
“I’m 98 percent sure it’s Beaver Dam,” Moulton said. “That would be nice.”
JV, JV2 teams win: Watertown’s junior varsity defeated Edgewood 47-36. Jackson Wehner led the Goslings with 16 points. Nathan Gapinski added 15. Watertown’s JV2 team won 52-47. Connor Lehman scored 12 points to pace Watertown. Brady Martin added eight.
WATERTOWN 52, EDGEWOOD 51
Edgewood 15 36 — 51
Watertown 29 23 — 52
Edgewood (fg-ft-tp) — James 1-1-3, Salzwedel 1-0-3, Regnier 1-1-3, Wendler 3-0-6, Jimenez 4-2-11, Meriggioli 7-2-16, Newton 4-1-9. Totals 21 7-9 51.
Watertown (fg-ft-tp) — Oiler 3-2-8, Jeseritz 2-6-10, Foltz 3-3-11, Nailing 2-0-5, Stas 3-7-14, Haase 1-0-2, Kuckkan 1-0-2. Totals 15 18-27 52.
Three-point goals — ME, Salzwedel, Jimenez; W, Foltz 2, Nailing, Stas
Total fouls — ME 20, W 14