After losing to Waunakee, the DeForest boys basketball team needed to bounce back against visiting Reedsburg on Jan. 9 if they wanted to remain in the Badger North Conference title race.
The Norskies got back in the title chase with a 60-54 victory over previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Reedsburg.
“This was a big win because they were undefeated,” DeForest coach Craig Weisbrod said. “It was a good win at home.”
DeForest got some help on Thursday as Mount Horeb knocked off Waunakee 66-52.
The Norskies (9-2 overall) are now 5-1 in the Badger North and tied with Waunakee and Reedsburg for first place. Mount Horeb is a game behind at 4-2.
“As a team, we didn’t play our best two or three games coming into this game, so it feels good to get a win like this,” DeForest’s Deven Magli said. “A win like this can give us a lot of momentum, but we have to keep working hard in practice.
The Norskies struggled offensively in the first half, but their defense kept them in the game.
“I thought the guys really competed and did a great job defensively,” Weisbrod said. “They followed our plan really well.”
DeForest held several leads early in the game, but the Beavers used a 7-0 run to go up 14-9 with 10 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Norskies briefly regained the lead, 17-16, on a three-pointer by Jahyl Bonds with 8:53 left in the half.
Reedsburg outscored DeForest 11-7 the rest of the first half to take a 27-24 halftime lead.
“We left a lot out there in the first half,” Weisbrod said. “We shouldn’t be a team that scores 24 points in a half.”
Magli opened the second half with a three-pointer to spark an 11-2 run. DeForest led 35-29 with 13:27 remaining.
“I knew I had to step up and score,” Magli said.
DeForest clung to a 42-40 lead with 7:59 remaining, when Bonds and Magli had baskets to put the Norskies up 46-41 with 7:59 left.
“We attacked more from the perimeter in the second half,” Weisbrod said. “The key was getting some baskets inside, which helped open things up.”
After a great pass Magli led to a layup for Bonds, DeForest led 50-43 with 4:34 remaining.
DeForest looked to have complete control of the game after a pair of free throws by Max Weisbrod put them up 56-47 with 2:17 left to play.
However, Reedsburg made things interesting. The Beavers got a basket from Will Fuhrmann to cut the deficit to 56-54 with 35 seconds left.
“We did a bad job of closing out the game,” Weisbrod said. “We relaxed and stopped attacking.”
DeForest would seal the game with late free throws by Weisbrod and Bonds.
Bonds led the Norskies with 14 points, while Magli finished with 13. Colby Hartig and Trey Schroeder both contributed nine points, while Weisbrod added eight.
“Jahyl and Deven really gave us a lift in scoring,” Weisbrod said. “They were able to slash and score big baskets for us.”
Magli came away with a team-high 10 rebounds, while Schroeder recorded a team-best five assists.
“Trey was the key because he really took charge of our offense,” Weisbrod said. “That is what you expect from a senior leader like him.”
Max Tully led Reedsburg with 17 points, while Fuhrmann added 16.
A solid defensive effort helped the Norskies score a non-conference win over visiting Lodi on Jan. 7.
DeForest held the Blue Devils to 50 points on 19-of-51 (37 percent) shooting from the field. The Norskies were 31-of-58 (53 percent) from the field.
The Blue Devils had momentum early in the game. They led 16-10 with 13:49 left in the first half.
The Norskies trailed 26-18 when they closed out the first half on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 28 at halftime.
Trailing 33-30, DeForest made its move with a 14-2 outburst to go up 44-35 with 12:10 to play.
The Norskies went on to outscore Lodi 40-22 in the second half.
DeForest had Weisbrod (12), Hartig (11) and Nolan Hawk (11) all score in double figures, while Magli, Bonds, Jack Creger and Alex Winters scored six apiece.
Hartig came away with a team-high 11 rebounds, while Weisbrod and Schroeder both had five assists.
DeForest will face another tough Badger North challenge on Jan. 16. The Norskies will play in Mount Horeb at 7:15 p.m.
The Norskies will face St. Croix Lutheran at the La Crosse Civic Center at 12:25 p.m. this Saturday.