EagleHerald/Jody Korch   Peshtigo's Cameron Noffke drives past Sturgeon Bay defenders in the second half on Thursday night.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Peshtigo's Cameron Noffke drives past Sturgeon Bay defenders in the second half on Thursday night.
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PESHTIGO — In a season mired in the second tier of Packerland Conference boys' basketball teams, Peshtigo on Thursday night showed its potential to become a top team.

The Bulldogs pulled away from Sturgeon Bay for a 66-47 victory.

"We've been kind of looking for that marquis win," Peshtigo coach Nate Motkowski said. "Tonight was that."

Sturgeon Bay (9-3 in the Packerland) fell back to third place, a half-game behind Oconto. Peshtigo (7-5) is in fourth place, and there's a high ceiling for a Bulldog team with just one senior.

"It tells us that this is ours to take the next couple years," Motkowski said. "It's a young group of kids."

Sturgeon Bay broke out to leads of 6-0 and 16-10. Its 3-2 zone defense gave the Bulldogs trouble early, but junior forward Mitchell VanVooren got Peshtigo going with seven quick points. Cade Tackmier gunned in two 3-pointers and Trent Carriveau hit three jumpshots, one of which gave Peshtigo its first lead, 17-16, with 5:41 in the half. Peshtigo never trailed again.

The Clippers started the second half in a man-to-man defense, but Peshtigo carved that up with Tackmier's three, VanVooren's putback and Max Neumann's driving basket. Then they switched to a 1-3-1 zone, but Peshtigo carved that up with patience, good shot selection and timely drives to the hoop.

"Coach prepped us all week for all of their defenses," Neumann said. "He knew they'd throw the kitchen sink at us. Cade, he stepped up big and guys were just getting to the open spot."

The offense was firing on all cylinders but a tough man-to-man defense was the biggest factor for Peshtigo. Sturgeon Bay's starting front line includes 6-foot-6 players Carson Talbert and Jared VanBramer. Talbert scored 13 but VanBramer was held to six, and nothing came easily in the paint for the Clippers.

"They're huge across the board so our plan was to try to fill the paint, front the big guys and have backside help at all times," Motkowski said. "Communication — that was the big key. I think we were communicating a little more and working a little better as a team."

Peshtigo held Sturgeon Bay to just 30 percent field goal shooting (13 for 43).

While Tackmier was bombing in threes, Cameron Noffke and VanVooren were attacking the rim and drawing fouls. Noffke's basket extended the lead to 38-28. He hit a turnaround jumper in the paint for a 45-30 lead with 9:35 left. Sturgeon Bay never mounted a second-half rally, and the Bulldogs slowly pulled away. Carriveau got in foul trouble but Reid Marquardt provided quality minutes off the bench at point guard. His three-point play extended the lead to 48-34. Noffke's double-clutch three-point play opened a 59-41 lead.

When Nick Nielson was intentionally fouled with 1:44 left, it was time to clear the bench.

Tackmier finished with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Noffke added 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block and VanVooren had 11 points and six rebounds. Neumann dished out nine assists and pulled down six rebounds.

STURGEON BAY (47) — Talbert 13, Jackson 8, Van Bramer 6, Wodack 6, Rose 5, Degrave 3, Jacobson 2, Nellis 2, Meikle 1, Schneider 1. FGs: 13-43; FTs: 16-24

PESHTIGO (66) — Marquardt 7, Carriveau 7, Jones 0, Sodini 0, Noffke 14, Plym 1, Nielson 4, Tackmier 16, Neumann 5, Swanson 1, Dionne 0, VanVooren 11, Demmith 0. FGs: 21-43; FTs: 18-26.

Halftime score: Peshtigo 27, Sturgeon Bay 23