EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann
Marinette’s Asaia Polazzo darts past a Freedom High School defender during Marinette’s North Eastern Conference Game against the Irish on Jan. 21 in Marinette. Polazzo was All-NEC honorable mention after leading the Marines in scoring during his junior season.
EagleHerald/Matt Lehmann

Marinette’s Asaia Polazzo darts past a Freedom High School defender during Marinette’s North Eastern Conference Game against the Irish on Jan. 21 in Marinette. Polazzo was All-NEC honorable mention after leading the Marines in scoring during his junior season.

MARINETTE — Asaia Polazzo stepped up all year long for a Marinette boys basketball team that needed his steady hand during a challenging season, and his splendid play was rewarded with an All-North Eastern Conference honorable mention.

Polazzo, who just missed out on receiving enough votes from coaches to make second-team All-NEC, nevertheless had a stellar junior campaign. He led the Marines in scoring with 17.6 points per game, which was also good enough to make him the fifth leading scorer in the conference. Polazzo also showed off his versatility by averaging 4.1 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists, and 1.4 steals.

“Asaia had a good year for us and he’s very deserving of this honor,” Marinette head coach Matt Joost said. “I was hoping he’d get enough votes to get second-team, but it’s still a good honor. He’s a good kid, a good student and great teammate that tries to help others and helps us out so much both on and off the court.”

After the Marines’ roster lost 11 players to graduation, Polazzo stepped into the role of go-to scorer for Marinette, scoring in double figures 22 times in 23 games, including nine contests where he dropped 20 points or more. Polazzo scored a season-high 29 points against The Prairie School on Nov. 30.

“He handled it pretty well,” Joost said of Polazzo assuming the mantle of go-to guy for the Marines. “At the beginning of the year, we weren’t sure what we had because of all the seniors that we lost from the previous season, along with most of this years’ team not playing many varsity minutes last year. We certainly knew that Asaia could be that guy, but you’re just never sure who is going to step up and who doesn’t. He’s one of the ones that stepped up and kept in games with his scoring ability.”

Joost believes that Polazzo’s success this season was a result of a more well-rounded skillset.

“He had a much more consistent jump shot this season and I think that was the biggest difference from his sophomore year to his junior year,” he said. “Even in JV, he was always good at driving to the basket, but his jumper and his outside shot started to really develop this year. Defensively, we asked him to guard some of the other team’s tougher guys and he improved all season long on that end of the court. He really rounded out his game and was doing everything well by the end of the season.”

Despite his success this season, Joost knows that Polazzo, who plays both small and power forward, has plenty of room for improvement entering his senior year.

“He needs to keep working to be consistent with his jumper,” Joost said. “Another thing will be adding a few more finishing moves to his arsenal. He had some 20-point games that could have been 30-point games had he been able to finish better at the hoop. If he can add a few moves going to his left, maybe add a step-back jumper, he’ll be able to improve and hopefully lead us to some victories.”