NIAGARA, Wis. - Peshtigo, a "great measuring stick," knocked off Niagara 61-33 Tuesday for its 45th straight M&O Conference boys basketball victory.
"I'm kind of happy we're not playing them again," Badgers coach Jim Hoogland said with a smile. "We're doing the best we can and you can only put up so much of a fight."
Niagara, which opened the season with a loss to Peshtigo, trailed 33-10 at halftime.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Niagara’s TJ Liebergen (10) fires up a shot past teammate Jordan Zawada and Peshtigo’s Zack Neumann (15) in Tuesday’s M&O Conference basketball game. Badger coaches Jim Hoogland, left, and Mike Prost look on.
"We have some work to do," Hoogland said. "That's why I like playing a team like this.
"I knew it was going to be a struggle (with a Division 3 team against Division 5). There's a reason why they've won 45 in a row now."
Peshtigo matched the 45-game M&O string that Wausaukee put together. The Rangers saw that mark fall in a 1968 loss to Niagara.
"It's something we have not talked a lot about to the team," Peshtigo Coach Ryan Spaulding said. "I think if you ask the guys what's more important, the streak or a nice run in the playoffs, it would be the playoffs.
"We'd be very excited if we have the opportunity to break this record and go on to win our third straight conference title. It's something our school and community can be proud of."
Peshtigo aims for 46 straight next week against Lena. Hoogland credits Spaulding and the Bulldogs' defense for their success.
"They're well coached and play great defense," Hoogland said. "I like their half-court defense (with a 1-3-1 trap that forced 23 turnovers). They make you rush your offense.
"With this kind of defense, you have to make a pass where the guy can catch and shoot, and we didn't always do that."
Six-foot-2 junior Zac Neumann, 21 points; 6-3 junior Jordan Berth, 13 with nine rebounds and seven steals, and junior Gunner Kinney, 11, led the Bulldogs. Senior Matt Borkovec added nine points.
"Our guys understand what it takes to be successful, everything from focusing over a long season to coming to practice every day to prepare," said Spaulding, noting his young Bulldogs have been developing well over the years. "These young guys are stepping up."
Peshtigo's only loss this season came at the hands of Luxemburg-Casco of the Bay Conference.
Colin Anderson scored 11 points and Zach Walker had 10 for the Badgers, outscored by just 28-23 in the second half. Jordan Zawada pulled down 10 rebounds.
"Progress, definitely, both offense and defense," said Hoogland when asked to compare his teams from the two Peshtigo meetings.
Niagara (9-5 overall, 6-3), which had a four-game winning streak snapped, travels to Lena on Friday.
Peshtigo defeated Niagara in the junior varsity game.
Peshtigo 13 20 11 17 - 61
Niagara 2 8 12 11 - 33
PESHTIGO: Berth 13, Neumann 21, Keller 2, Sanborn 4, Kinney 11, Borkovec 9, Dohl 1. FT: 11-17. F: 8.
NIAGARA: Walker 10, Anderson 11, Zychowski 5, Zawada 7. FT: 3-4. F: 15.
3-point FG: Zychowski, Zawada, Neumann, Kinney 2, Borkovec. FG shooting: Niagara 14-51, Peshtigo 23-52. Rebounding: Peshtigo 35 (Berth 9), Niagara 22 (Zawada 10).