EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann
Marinette’s Matt Maye goes up for a shot as Luxemburg-Casco’s Jonas Otradovec goes airborne to defend during Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 regional game in Luxemburg.
EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann

Marinette’s Matt Maye goes up for a shot as Luxemburg-Casco’s Jonas Otradovec goes airborne to defend during Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 regional game in Luxemburg.

LUXEMBURG, Wis. — The Marinette boys basketball team has had difficulties against Luxemburg-Casco, a trend that continued the Marines 84-51 loss to the Spartans in the WIAA Division 2 regionals on Thursday.

In the first half Marinette was forced to contend with the Spartans renowned press defense, countering it by running the fastbreak to great effect to push L-C into a more traditional half-court set.  The Marines had difficulties hitting shots throughout the contest, an issue L-C compounded by collapsing on shooters while using their size advantage to bully Marinette in the rebounding category and scoring all but nine of their 84 points from within the restricted area.

“Our kids played really hard. We were able to take them out of their press, which was the main thing that we focused on coming in,” Marinette head coach Matt Joost said. “They’re just bigger, faster and stronger than us and we couldn’t handle their speed or size tonight. It wasn’t a great shooting night, but we scrapped and fought all night.”

Two quick baskets by L-C put Marinette down by four early before layups from Asaia Polazzo and Nate Poetzl made it a 6-4 game. A 10-0 run gave the Spartans a 10-point lead before back-to-back scores by Polazzo and Matt Maye cut Marinette’s deficit to eight.

A 3-pointer by Matt Dorn pushed the Spartans lead to 13, but a mid-range jumper from Maye along with a deep corner-three by Jake Sommerfeldt brought the score to 25-15. Jason Pleau knocked down another triple for Marinette but consecutive baskets by Logan Doell gave L-C a 17-point lead and forced a Marinette timeout with five minutes left before halftime.

Coming out of the break, Polazzo added a pair of layups and sank a free throw that cut the Spartans lead to 18 and Sommerfeldt canned another mid-range shot with 18.3 seconds left to make it a 39-23 game in favor of L-C headed into halftime.

“Down 16 points at halftime, we still felt like we could get back into things,” Joost said. “We wanted to run and attack but L-C did a great job of adjusting once we took them out of their press and didn’t let us get any fastbreak baskets. They kept us in the half court and contested everything. It was probably the best defensive game that L-C has played against us all season.”

L-C opened the second half on a 7-0 run before a flurry of fouls sent Maye to the foul line, where he converted 6-of-7 shots to help Marinette chip away at the Spartan’s lead. Six consecutive points by Carter Sewell allowed L-C’s advantage to swell to 30 points until Sommerfeldt nailed the Marine’s first basket of the half at the 10:21 mark.

With the score 66-36, a Keegan Polomis 3-pointer got Marinette’s offense humming as the two teams traded buckets until Polazzo drilled a corner 3-pointer to force a Spartans timeout. L-C regrouped with 10 unanswered points before a reverse layup by Maye halted the run and made it a 80-43 game.

Polomis added a layup to jump-start a 6-0 run for the Marines until free throws from Hayden Koss and Garrett Zuleger pushed L-C’s lead to 33 with just over a minute remaining. Matt Twork fought his way through traffic for a layup, but Matt Cravillion tacked on a garbage-time bucket with 17 seconds remaining to seal the season sweep for the Spartans.

Tuesday’s game marks the contest for seniors Maye and Alex Shaw. Joost praised both players for their contributions to Marine basketball.

“With Alex having a foot injury, that was a disappointing way for his season to end,” he said. “Matt plays hard constantly and he’s fearless. He’ll go in the lane against any one. They’re good players, good kids and we’ll miss having them around the program.”

Maye led Marinette with 17 points with Polazzo chipping in 12 and Sommerfeldt finishing with nine. Doell was L-C’s top scorer with 23 points while both Cravillion and Jonas Otradovec adding 12.

MARINETTE (51) — Maye 17, Polazzo 12, Sommerfeldt 9, Polomis 5, Pleau 3, Poetzl 2, Twork 2, Erdman 1; FTs: 9-19

LUXEMBURG-CASCO (84) — Doell 23, Cravillion 12, Otradovec 12, Sewell 10, Mrotek 8, Robillard 6, Deprez 4, Dorn 3, Renard 2, Rollin 2, Koss 1, Zuleger 1; FTs: 7-17

Halftime score: Luxemburg-Casco 39, Marinette 23.