Entering the Jan. 7 Rock Valley Conference home game against East Troy, McFarland High School boys basketball coach Jeff Meinholdt told his players to limit scoring opportunities for the Trojans leading scorer, A.J. Vukovich.
The 6-foot-5 senior is close to 2,000 points in his varsity career and had blistered the Spartans for 40 points in 2017. McFarland was able to lower Vukovich’s average point total of 26.8 per game, but other East Troy players such as Chase Cummings and Michael Rosin stepped up and defeated the Spartans 85-73.
The win was East Troy’s ninth in 10 games. Meinholdt said his team did a good job controlling Vukovich, who had 12 points in the half to lift East Troy to a 44-39 lead.
“We held him to 12 first half points, then only seven in the second half, five of which were a result of us fouling at the end, so we felt pretty good about what we did against him,” Meinholdt said about Vukovich, who ended up with 19 points. “Unfortunately (other players) beat us.”
Cummings, a 6-fooot-2 sophomore guard averaging nearly 11 points a game, led East Troy with 21 points including six shots from the 3-point line. Senior Rosin had 17 including five from 3-point territory. Ryan Nixon scored 13 points.
Yet, McFarland (6-4 overall, 4-2 in conference) had its share of excellent performances as junior Blake Kes led the team with 29 points.
“Blake did a lot of his damage off of strong drives to the rim. I thought he finished at the rim very well and took what the defense gave him,” Meinholdt said “What helped him also was that he was able to stay out of foul trouble; thus keeping him on the floor much more than usual.”
Six-foot-7 senior Max Hanson also had a steady game with 17 points. It was the second game in double figures this season for Hanson, who tallied 16 in a December victory at Oregon.
“Offensively, Max had a strong game from the inside and outside for us,” Meinholdt said. “He was in the right spot where his teammates could find him near the rim.”
Pete Pavelec also reached double figures with 10 points.