EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Dawson Andrist of Crivitz reaches out for a contested shot near the basket against Suring in Crivitz on Tuesday.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts

Dawson Andrist of Crivitz reaches out for a contested shot near the basket against Suring in Crivitz on Tuesday.

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CRIVITZ — What a difference 20 minutes can make.

Trailing 25-24 to the Suring boys basketball team with two minutes left in the first half, Crivitz outscored the Eagles 48-11 over the final 20 minutes to finish with an emphatic 72-36 victory on Tuesday.

The Eagles and Wolverines finished in a three-way tie with Coleman for the M&O Conference championship in boys basketball a season ago and this game had the early makings of another classic battle.

"Our goal coming in was to run up and down the court and try to wear them out while limiting Mitchell Stegeman and Caleb Lally," Crivitz coach Jeff Baumann said. "We gave up four easy putbacks in the first half and it was a tight battle. Once things started to click late in the half, we found a groove and played really well."

Suring had the advantage early in the game, led by back-to-back steals by Stegeman, which resulted in powerful fast-break dunks. Stegeman drilled a 3-pointer at the two-minute mark, giving Suring a 25-24 lead.

Facing a 2-3 zone that they had success against, the Wolverines continued to find the weak spot in the Eagles' defense as Chandler Kaldenberg and Trey Franzen scored on back-to-back shots inside.

Jaden Werner closed the half out with a long jumper and a triple with 20 seconds remaining to help Crivitz take a 33-25 lead into halftime.

"That run really hurt us at the end of the half," Suring coach Jim Keefe said. "Both teams were going at it with each other and they just kind of took it to us to end the half."

The Eagles never recovered and looked stagnant on offense, which Crivitz took advantage of.

Two straight Suring turnovers led to fast-break layups by Dawson Andrist and Jaden Werner to extend the Wolverines' lead to 37-25 early in the second half.

With 11 minutes remaining and Crivitz holding a 44-33 lead, the Wolverines provided the final knockout punch by going on a 14-0 run, led by three steals by Andrist. Two of those steals were converted to baskets and the third was dished to Eian Baumann, who connected on a tough shot inside to extend the lead to 58-33.

"Hats off to Crivitz, they played well offensively and defensively and did a lot of things I was hoping we would do," Keefe said. "We stood around way too much and relied on Mitchell and Caleb. We didn't play as a unit and Crivitz did."

The Wolverines forced 12 turnovers over the first 10 minutes of the second half, draining an Eagles' squad expecting to compete for another M&O title

"I thought we did a much better job rebounding and causing turnovers in the second half and we looked more loose as a group," Baumann said. "The end of the first half really took the wind out of their sails and they never really recovered."

Kaldenberg nearly single-handily took the Eagles out of their zone defense in the first half and finished with a game-high 24 points for the Wolverines (3-0 overall, 1-0 in the M&O). Werner added 18 and Andrist chipped in 12 points while also leading the team with eight assists.

"We like to run and once we got out running in the second half, it was another ball game," Kaldenberg said. "We were able to find the soft spot in their zone in the first half, which was key for us in getting good looks. This was a great win."

Stegeman and Dequez Sepulveda led the Eagles (1-2 overall, 0-1 in the M&O), with 13 points a piece and Lally had six.

"If we have four players finish in double-figures every night, we're doing really well and we had that tonight," said Baumann. "Overall, I was very happy with the second half. We made their best guys work hard for their shots and everyone fed off each other."

The next game for both teams will be on Friday when Crivitz travels to Lena while Suring plays host to Niagara.