SHAWANO — There was something learned about the Seymour and Shawano boys basketball teams Friday night during their Bay Conference showdown.
Seymour defeated the Hawks, 51-46, to avenge an earlier 49-48 loss this season to Shawano to go up one game in the loss column on Shawano, West De Pere and Hortonville. Beyond that, though, each team showed something positive.
Seymour standouts Sandy Cohen and Dakota Oskey entered the game combining for about 35 points per game and were limited to 23. Most would assume with those numbers in a big game, the Thunder, ranked No. 3 in the FOX 11 Top 11, would’ve lost, but not Friday.
Seymour might’ve entered this season thinking Cohen (13 points) and Oskey (10) would have to carry this team every game to win, especially in big contests, but the Thunder has discovered that’s not the case. Friday, sophomore Brayden Willinski poured in 18 points, benefiting from the attention Shawano paid to Seymour’s “Big Two.”
You can’t blame Shawano for its strategy, but what Friday’s game displayed for Seymour is Cohen and Oskey don’t have to score every point. Furthermore, senior guard Casey Jefson is capable of reaching double figures.
While Friday’s win was big in the conference race for Seymour, it might prove to be bigger down the postseason road. As good as Cohen and Oskey are, they need help to get to where they want to be in March and Friday just might’ve been the start.
Meanwhile, Shawano showed without a star player it is for real. When the Hawks beat Seymour earlier this season it shocked many, but were there believers?
Then, Shawano beat West De Pere a week ago, but the Phantoms were in a funk, so did the Hawks catch West De Pere at the right time?
Bottom line is Shawano can play and that was evident Friday. The Hawks limited Cohen and Oskey on offense and if it wasn’t for a great effort from Willinski, Shawano could’ve easily won this game.
Shawano might not get the style points of Seymour and West De Pere, but the Hawks get the job done most games.
Going forward both teams have to feel good about themselves. Seymour has grown from the start of the season, while Shawano has become a more confident team.
It should be fun watching these teams the rest of the way, and who knows, maybe they meet one more time in Madison to break their season series tie.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay