Having lost three of its previous four games, including a tough Badger North Conference loss to Beaver Dam, the DeForest boys basketball team came into last Friday’s conference tilt with host Baraboo looking to right the ship and get back into the title race.
The Norskies responded in a big way, hammering the Thunderbirds 80-51.
“The kids really stepped up and played well,” DeForest coach Craig Weisbrod said. “We were trying to get a little rhythm back. The good news is that the sky is not falling. We have to get ready for the stretch run and this was a good start.”
The win pushed the Norskies to 11-5 overall and 7-2 in the Badger North. They are in second place in the conference behind 8-1 Waunakee.
It took DeForest time to build some momentum against Baraboo. It was a back-and-forth game for much of the first half.
Holding a 19-15 lead with 8 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the first half, the Norskies made their move. They closed the half with a 27-8 run.
DeForest scored the final 15 points of the half to double up the Thunderbirds, 46-23, at halftime.
Trey Schroeder had five points in the surge to close the first half, while Max Weisbrod had four.
The Norskies extended the run to 20 points by scoring the first five points of the second half to go up 51-23.
“We were able to stretch out the lead at the end of the first half and had a strong start to the second half,” Weisbrod said. “It was nice to see us put them away.”
DeForest led 58-26 with 14:26 remaining in the game after a three-pointer by Kennedy Wallace.
The Thunderbirds would get no closer than 23 points, 60-37, the rest of the game.
The Norskies outscored the Thunderbirds 34-28 in the second half.
“I thought everybody moved the ball and played tough,” Weisbrod said.
Schroeder had an outstanding all-around game for DeForest. He finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. All three totals were team highs.
“I thought Trey played really well,” Weisbrod said. “He was a great leader on the court.”
Nolan Hawk (11) and Colby Hartig (10) also scored in double figures for the Norskies, while Weisbrod finished with nine points.
DeForest had 10 players contribute points.
“January was a long month, so it was good to get a lot of players playing time,” Weisbrod said.
Baraboo’s Calvin Peterson came away with a game-high 20 points, while teammate Justin Philipp added 10.
The Norskies will be on the road this Friday. They will play at Sauk Prairie at 7:15 p.m.
DeForest will host a key Badger North showdown with Waunakee at 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 18.
“Now we have to buckle down because we don’t have much of the season left,” Weisbrod said.