Onto shuts down W-M, wins 53-39

WAKEFIELD — Ontonagon used a rock-solid defense to upend Wakefield-Marenisco 53-39 in a Copper Mountain Conference match-up on Friday night.

Ontonagon coach Andy Borseth said the key to the win was his team’s defense.

“They (Wakefield-Marenisco) beat us in double overtime last Friday, but we found out we could play with them,” Borseth said. “Without a doubt, defense won it for us. Before the game, I challenged all of them to play man (defense). It was nice to see the kids respond. I was very happy for what Tanner Balcomb did against Jake Suzik. Suzik scored 16 points, but he’s so good at creating contact when he goes to the rim. And Henry Menigoz did a great job on (Mason) Saubert. He held him to nine points. He takes it personally when he guards players. The defense did the job, but Henry knocking down five 3’s didn’t hurt.”

Menigoz said that when he gets the opportunity he’s going to shoot the ball.

“I came in more confident for this game,” Menigoz said. “When I feel good and I get the opportunity, the ball’s going up. I shot and worked out every day in the summer.

“We have a terrible record coming in (3 wins), but we’re a real competitive team. We’re better than our record. Hopefully, we can play well at tournament time.”

Cardinal coach Terry Fetters kind of shook his head as he looked at the stat sheet after the game.

“39 points-against Chassell we scored 81 and tonight 39,” Fetters said. “I have been feeling pretty good about the team until tonight. I can’t say one good thing about this game. It was a combination of their good defense and we had no offensive rhythm and didn’t shoot well. Their defense is good with those three big guys and they played good man defense on us.

“They are a better team than three wins. They were definitely the better team tonight.”

Ontonagon’s James Domitrovich started the game with a baseline jumper and then drilled another shot from the same spot as the Gladiators took a quick 4-0 lead.

Suzik responded with a drive for a score and a free throw for a 3 the old-fashioned way and then drove the middle again and sank a floater-type shot. Ed Polakowski made a one-handed jumper to give W-M an early 6-5 lead.

Menigoz knocked down two triples from on top and the corner and Balcomb splashed a long 3 with 7.8 seconds left as the Glads took a 17-9 lead at the quarter.

Suzik started the second quarter with a long distance drive for a score and Saubert drained a 3, but Ontonagon clamped down hard with the defense and held the Cardinals to 18 first half points.

Ontonagon only scored seven points in the quarter and still led 24-18.

“Going into the locker-room at the half we were up by six, but I felt like the lead should have been double-digits,” Borseth said. “We have to take better care of the ball.”

Polakowski summed it up best.

“The defense played good tonight, but the offense can do a lot better,” Polakowski said.

Balcombe started off the third quarter by powering up a shot from the lane, but W-M’s Brett Heil answered back with a 3-ball.

The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter, although W-M got within three points (28-25) on Saubert’s running one hand shot. But the Glads got the lead back up to 34-26 by the quarter’s end on Jaden Weisinger’s baseline jump shot and Micah Blake took one step into the lane and drilled a jumper to help the cause.

At the 7:19 mark of the final quarter, Polakowski went up strong with a rebound for a bucket and when Menigoz made his fifth 3, the Gladiators had their biggest lead at 44-31.

Ontonagon out-scored the Cardinals 19-13 in the fourth quarter.

Ontonagon got balanced scoring from Balcomb (16), Menigoz (15) and Polakowski (12).

Suzik topped W-M’s scoring with 16 points.

The Cardinals won the junior varsity game 53-43.

Ontonagon (4-8, 3-5) goes to Dollar Bay next Friday for another Copper Mountain Conference game.

The Cardinals (10-3, 6-3) travel down U.S. 2 to play Bessemer in another conference rivalry game on Tuesday.

– – –

Onto 17 7 10 19 — 53

W-M 9 9 8 13 — 39

Ontonagon – Ed Polakowski 12, Jaden Weisinger 2, James Domitrovich 4, Henry Menigoz, Micah Blake 4, Tanner Balcomb 16. FT’s: 5-6, Fouls: 11, Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Menigoz 5, Balcomb 1.

W-M – Mason Saubert 9, Bailey Ribich 5, Jacob Suzik 16, Brett Heil 3, Kyle Whitburn 4. Sethe Cole. FT’s: 7-14, Fouls: 7, Fouled out: none, 3-pointers: Saubert 1, Heil 1.