Watching a future Badger

Welcome to The Old Kingdom!  It's The Czar's 2011-12 Season Opener at Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran (GB or NEW for short).  The Crown Prince and a cousin of mine and his wife join me for this one.  Never a bad thing to be within shouting distance of The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field.  Tonight's attraction is 6'7" F Sam Dekker of Sheboygan Lutheran.  He's a top 40 kid nationally who will play at Wisconsin next season.   He averaged 29 and 10 last season and Sheboygan Lutheran lost 4 starters so he's primed for a HUGE season (hint, foreshadowing).  The game itself has plenty of meaning too.  GB NEW comes into the season as the 2-time defending section champions and these 2 are in the same sub-section.  Both are picked second preseason in their leagues so don't be surprised if they meet again in March.  Had to duck into the game before halftime to make sure we all got a seat as a full house of 1 side of bleachers was on hand for this one.  I had to get a picture of the GB NEW Lutheran Blazer mascot as it was one of the more unique ones I've seen in a while.

Upon arriving, we find that the school's cafeteria is used for concessions and that's never a bad thing.  There's chili on the menu so I can't let that pass.  A little thick but had some kick to it which isn't a bad thing.  Add in a 24 oz Pepsi to wash it down and that's a good enough dinner for me.  As to game fare, I didn't have the popcorn but the rest of my posse said it may have been the worst they've ever had.  Big thumbs down to that from the peanut gallery.

Game Time
This was the season opener for both teams and the first quarter showed it.  NEW gets the first 5 of the game and Dekker misses his first 2 free throws.   Dekker would come back with a 3 point play off of a turnover.  That was the only Sheboygan Lutheran field goal of the quarter.  Dekker missed a pair of bunnies but was fouled to make a pair of free throws for a 7-5 lead at the 5:33 mark.  Freshman Jacob Jurss with a pair of freebies at the 1:52 mark for Sheboygan Lutheran and we're tied at 9.  Dekker's touches totally gone as there were a pair of instances where he was wide open and teammates didn't even look at him.  Very surprising.  Sheboygan Lutheran falls apart in the last 2 minutes with turnovers.  NEW converts that into an 11-0 run to close the quarter.  NEW's Travis Voigt with a pretty up and under to get it started and a bucket at the buzzer to end it.  20-9 GB NEW after the first quarter.  Dekker 5 points and 4 rebounds (2 of them offensive boards on the same play).

Dekker comes out as a man on a mission to start the 2nd quarter.  He drives from the high post against a NEW zone for 1 free throw and puts back the miss of the other.   Then he scores on the post followed by a pullup for 3.  He tips in a miss for a personal 10-0 run.  After a NEW bucket, he gets out for a huge dunk at the 4:50 mark.  22-21 NEW.  NEW not phased as they get a floater, a triple from Voigt and a putback for a 7-0 run.  29-21 NEW.  Then a big swing as NEW missed a pair of bonus front ends that could have pushed the lead to 12.  Dekker drives at the 1:20 mark for what was almost his 3rd charge of the night (his 2 charges in the half were very questionable).  Jurss nails a 3 and converts a steal for 2 more in the last 30 seconds of the half.  Those were the only field goals by somebody other than Dekker in the half.  NEW gets the last hoop of the half and takes a 35-28 lead to halftime.  Easily could have been double digits as Dekker got almost no help and NEW with great balance.  Dekker's line at halftime 19 points and 9 rebounds.

To the 3rd quarter we go.  Dekker inside on the post countered by a Voigt 3.  40-30 NEW at the 6:52 mark and they take the classic Momentum Killer timeout after the Voigt 3. Whatever was said got the rest of Dekker's teammates going.  Dekker gets a continuation call at 5:47 for the And 1 to cut the lead to 42-35.  Soph lefty Tyler Zastrow knocks down a 3.  Dekker on the post and another Zastrow jumper.  Add on 2 more Sheboygan Lutheran free throws and they're within 46-44 at the 2:21 mark.  14-6 spurt in 4:31 since the NEW timeout.  Dekker with a putback and a coast to coast 3 point play around a Josh Wheeler 3 and that's a 4 point Sheboygan Lutheran lead (22-8 run since the timeout).  Junior Tyler Schaut hits his 2nd 3 of the night for NEW just before the end of the quarter.  52-51 Sheboygan Lutheran going to the final stanza.  Dekker's line after 3, 33 points and 13 boards.

Sophomore Dakota Zinser with a foul line jumper as NEW won't go away to start the 4th.  59-55 NEW with 5:40 remaining.  Dekker 4 straight free throws, last 2 on an offensive board.  Zinser for 3 and a turnover goes the other way for a Voigt layup.  64-59 NEW with 4:10 to go and Sheboygan Lutheran appears to be on the ropes.  66-62 NEW inside of 3 minutes when Zastrow comes up with a huge 3.  NEW counters with a bucket and they get a stop with 2:30 to go up 68-65.  Then a pair of costly turnovers for NEW and Jurss converts both with a jumper for 2 and then a pass from Dekker for a huge 3 with 1:40 left.  70-68 Sheboygan Lutheran.  NEW fouled and they miss another front end with 1:35 left.  Dekker fouled and makes 1 of 2 and NEW turns it over again.  Sheboygan Lutheran takes a timeout inside a minute to just barely avoid a turnover of their own and Dekker converts it into a driving layup with 35 seconds left.  Nathan Claflin buries a 3 for NEW with 27.7 left to cut the lead to 73-71.  But to no avail.  Dekker makes 2 more freebies and after a turnover adds a layup.  Sheboygan Lutheran gets a hard fought road win 77-71.  12-3 run over the last 2:30 put the Crusaders over the top.

Post Game
For GB NEW, lefty Travis Voigt leads a balanced attack with 16 points.  Tyler Schaut 14, Grant Glodoski 10, Dakota Zinser and Nathan Claflin 9 each.  Their big senior center was in foul trouble for a large chunk of the night and wasn't a good matchup.  That means most of the contributions were by non-seniors which is impressive.  Take Dekker out of the Sheboygan Lutheran lineup and I thought top to bottom NEW had more talent.  Nothing fancy from them on either end.  Very interesting that they didn't really throw any bag of tricks at Dekker (e.g Box and 1).  Definitely expect them to be a tough out come tourney time in D5.  Playing in the larger school Packerland definitely helps too.

For Sheboygan Lutheran, Sam Dekker finishes with 45 points and 15 boards on my sheet (paper says 13 but I'll take my 15).  Most of that damage was inside as his outside shot wasn't falling.  I had him 1-6 from 3 point range, 14-26 overall.  16-21 from the charity stripe.  Only 1 shot that I would say was forced and a very willing passer.  Jacob Jurss 13 points.  Tyler Zastrow 7 of his 9 points in the second half were big. 

GB NEW Lutheran will definitely come away from this one feeling they let one slip away.  Considering they had a 5 point lead with 4 minutes to go and had some costly turnovers and missed free throws, I would definitely love to see these 2 teams hook up again in March.  I'd expect Sheboygan Lutheran's youth to show strides since this game and NEW to come out with something to at least try to slow Dekker down a tad while they lock down on the other guys.

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