Poor start hinders Red Hawk boys in matchup with state power Panthers

            G-E-T junior Will Mack dribbled past a West Salem defender in last Tuesday's 81-49 loss at West Salem High School.            (Times photograph by Benjamin Pierce

A sloppy start and a matchup with one of the best teams across Wisconsin was a sinister combination for the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School boys basketball team last Tuesday.

West Salem (18-1 this season, 9-0 Coulee Conference) was all over the visiting Red Hawks from the opening tip, suffocating G-E-T on defense while also utilizing a strong team effort on offense to open a wide spread quickly.

The end result was an 81-49 win for the Panthers, who are currently ranked second in the state for Division Three.

G-E-T (7-11, 2-5) is scheduled to host Arcadia on Thursday before traveling to Tomah on Saturday.

“West Salem’s just got a lot of horses in the stable right now,” G-E-T coach Jared McCutchen told the Times. “They can go seven, eight deep. … and they’re kind of just on a different level than not only us but a lot of teams in the area and in the state.”

Peter Lattos led all scorers with 18 points for West Salem, which had four players in double digit scoring.

West Salem led 26-6 at the midway point of the first half, and all of the visitors’ points had come from the free throw line. The scoring gap between the teams reached as high as 32 points late in the half before G-E-T found some rhythm to close the first down 47-16.

G-E-T wasn’t nearly as efficient as the Panthers on offense, as sloppy turnovers and multiple miscues helped the hosts to the big early lead.

“They came out real fast out of the gates,” McCutchen said, “And after the first four minutes of the game, it was big time catch up for us.”

The Panthers also defended well on Tuesday, evidenced by a season-low performance from G-E-T sophomore Cody Schmitz, who led the Red Hawks with 11 points. 

G-E-T had to turn to more of a quick shot attack due to high pressure from West Salem, which really hurt them when they couldn’t find the rebounds–West Salem out-boarded G-E-T 44-26.

“They were just so much quicker out of the gates, and they forced us into things they wanted to do,” McCutchen said. 

“And we just couldn’t combat that.”

G-E-T (field goals/attempts-free throws/attempts-rebounds-fouls-points)—K. Seiling 2/4-1/4-4-2-6, Mack 2/5-3/5-3-3-7, Burns 2/5-0/0-3-1-5, Stoner 1/2-1/2-0-0-3, Beedle 0/4-0/0-1-2-0, Sorenson 2/3-0/0-1-0-5, B. Seiling 2/5-0/0-1-0-5, Andre 0/0-2/2-1-0-2, Schmitz 2/11-6/6-6-1-11, Anibas 0/2-0/0-2-0-0, Corcoran 0/0-0/0-1-2-0, Jimenez 2/2-0/0-3-0-5.

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