Winners of four straight games, the Waunakee boys’ basketball team is getting healthy again. The news gets worse for the Warriors’ remaining opponents.

“The best part is, since everybody got back after the holiday break, our practices have been good, the effort’s been good, and they are really taking pride in their defense,” said Warrior Head Coach Dana MacKenzie.

According to MacKenzie, the Warriors turned the screws on Beaver Dam, as their renewed focus on defense really showed up.

After racing out to a 30-15 halftime lead, Waunakee cruised to a 60-39 Badger East Conference victory over the Golden Beavers on Thursday, Jan. 6, before downing Brookfield East 63-54 in the #swingfam Classic on Saturday, Jan. 8, hosted by the Warriors at the Fieldhouse.

Now 11-2 overall and sitting atop the Badger East with a 6-0 record, Waunakee was scheduled to travel to DeForest on Tuesday, Jan. 11, for a showdown with the rival Norskies.

Trailing 29-26 at the half against Brookfield East, the Warriors poured it on in the second half, outscoring the Spartans 37-25. The margin of victory could have been bigger had Waunakee shot better from the foul line, where the Warriors went 13-for-26.

“First of all, they’re a really, really good team that’s hard to defend,” said MacKenzie. “On offense, they keep the ball moving.”

Andrew Keller paced Waunakee with 15 points, while Joey Fuhremann had 11 and Drew Lavold finished with 12. Defensively, the Warriors stuck to the game plan, according to MacKenzie, and shut the Spartans and Matt Schmainda down. Schmainda had 16 points in the first half but was held to six after halftime.

The Golden Beavers were no match for the Warriors, as Waunakee’s backcourt of Lavold and Aidan Driscoll combined for 26 points. Driscoll led the Warriors with 16 points, while Shea DuCharme and Keller chipped in with eight points apiece and Fuhremann had seven, as Waunakee had balanced scoring against Beaver Dam.

MacKenzie said last year’s late loss at Beaver Dam weighed heavily on their minds. He said that after that game, which was Waunakee’s first game back after the pandemic shutdown, the Warriors came to realize how good they could be defensively. It carried over to the Jan. 6 win over the Golden Beavers.

The Warriors will be on the road through Jan. 28, starting with the DeForest game. Then comes an away game at Milton on Thursday, Jan. 13. Waunakee will take part in the MLK Dream Classic at Milwaukee South High School, as the Warriors will take on Milwaukee King. They will also compete at the Badger Conference Challenge at DeForest on Friday, Jan. 21.

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