Peshtigo’s A.J. Woller drives to the basket as Marinette’s Marcus Maguire defends in the first half Tuesday night in Peshtigo. <br> EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Peshtigo’s A.J. Woller drives to the basket as Marinette’s Marcus Maguire defends in the first half Tuesday night in Peshtigo.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
PESHTIGO - Peshtigo gave the Marinette Marines a rough indoctrination into varsity boys' basketball Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs have five senior starters, uncommon experience and good height, depth and talent. Marinette returns little varsity experience, and it showed.

Peshtigo rolled to a season-opening 45-20 victory.

While the Bulldogs started rather slowly offensively, their defense was rock-solid, limiting the Marines to just two first-half field goals.

"It wasn't pretty for either team, and that can happen the first game," Peshtigo coach Ryan Spaulding said. "But with five senior starters we expected a better first game. The effort picked up as the game went on."

The nervous jitters of the first varsity game for most of the Marines reminded coach Nick Semenas of his varsity debut at Oshkosh Lourdes.

"I honestly thought that we brought intensity on both ends of the floor," Semenas said. "We just have to figure out the speed of varsity basketball. Peshtigo plays at a speed that we had not seen yet. When we come to practice we need to practice at that speed so we can be successful."

Seniors Jordan Berth and Zack Neumann attacked the rim and combined for 27 points. Peshtigo extended a 10-3 first-quarter lead to 23-4 on Neumann's 3-pointer in the final half-minute of the half.

"I liked how Zack and Jordan took the initiative to score," Spaulding said, "and overall I liked our bench play."

Marcus Maguire, Marinette's only returning starter, had three first-quarter steals and a putback just before the half, but the Marines put the Bulldogs into the bonus early. Jake Holley, Taylor Starzynski and Zach DeLong all picked up three first-half fouls.

The lead grew to 30-6 on two straight Neumann buckets early in the second half.

After playing tight man-to-man defense in the first half, the Bulldogs turned to a 1-3-1 half-court trap, which caused the Marines fits. They dribbled into traps and passed tentatively.

"I liked that it led to transition points," the Peshtigo coach said.

Neumann led all scorers with 17 points, while Berth had 10 and Gunner Kinney added nine.

Peshtigo won the junior varsity game 39-37 in overtime. Tyler Marquardt led the way with 16 points and Justin Thill added eight. Austin Marquardt scored four of his six in OT.

Blayne Smejkal led the Marines with 18 and Jonte Webb added seven.

Ryley Demmith scored 10 points to lead Peshtigo to a 38-30 win in the freshman game. Kyle McMahon led Marinette with 15.

MARINETTE (20) - Malone 3, Maguire 5, Holley 6, Waloway 0, Jackimowicz 0, Starzynski 0, Klumb 5, Greenlund 0, DeLong 0, Beland 1. FGs: 6-33; FTs: 3-5.

PESHTIGO (45) - Thomas 1, Jones 0, Berth 10, Neumann 17, Sanborn 2, Kinney 9, Woller 2, VanSickle 2, Dohl 2, Noffke 0. FGs: 15-37; FTs: 13-26.

Marinette 3 3 8 6 - 20

Peshtigo 10 13 9 13 - 45