By BURT ANGELI
GOODMAN, Wis. - Wausaukee opened the door and Goodman-Pembine nearly broke through Thursday in the Patriots' boys basketball season opener at the LaVerne Zimmerman Athletic Center.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Goodman-Pembine’s Trent Heath drives past Wausaukee’s Eddy Self (10) in non-conference boys basketball Thursday.
The Patriots, triggered by senior guard Trent Heath's game-high 18 points, slashed a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to five before falling 52-43.
"That's the level we can play at," Patriots coach Paul Whitt said of the comeback. "It took a little while to get going."
Wausaukee got going in the third quarter, outscoring Goodman-Pembine 21-4 for a 37-21 lead heading into the fourth period. The difference climbed to 43-23 with 6:39 left in the game.
"We started playing good basketball, then we had some costly turnovers," Wausaukee Coach Jon Ranallo said. "They hit some nice shots to bring it close.
"Once you let the home team creep back in it, then you're in for a ballgame the rest of the way out."
Zach Orlando, 14 points and six assists; Aaron Schlies, 11 points and 10 rebounds; Austin Guarniere, 10 points and three steals, and James Kramer, eight points, paced the Rangers (2-0).
"Toward the second half we started playing our kind of ball," Ranallo said. "We started to pick it up a little bit.
"The boys started to run out of gas (late in the game). This early in the season we don't have our legs yet."
Heath popped in 14 fourth-quarter points, including back-to-back treys in the final two minutes to cut the gap to 47-41. His final bucket, with 18 seconds to go, cut the margin to 48-43.
"Trent played like the all-conference player he is," Whitt said. "He wouldn't let us die out there. He brought us back."
Randall Bose chipped in 10 points for the Patriots. Austin Glanzer added eight points and nine rebounds and Alex Whitt had seven and nine.
"I was really impressed with the way they played," Ranallo said. "They definitely have some athletes and that's a scary team.
"This was a great test for us and a learning experience."
Goodman-Pembine, breaking in new players to the system and not playing a true pre-season scrimmage, managed two points in the first three minutes and seven for the next seven.
"Both teams feel they probably set basketball back about 50 years," Whitt said. "Dr. Naismith is probably rolling over in his grave watching those first two minutes.
"But we settled in and finished the half well. But give their defense credit in the second half. We were not settling for the best shot and we had turnovers where we had guys trying to do too much."
The Patriots suffered with the bad third quarter against a Wausaukee team expected to be an M&O Conference contender. They had 19 turnovers for the game.
"You can't do that against anyone but you definitely can't do that against an awfully good team like Wausaukee," Whitt said. "Jon has done a great job with those guys. We knew we would have our hands full."
Goodman-Pembine continues non-conference play Tuesday, taking on rival Niagara at Pembine.
"I'm proud of them," Whitt said. "We'll be back."
Wausaukee's junior varsity, behind 24 points from Taylor Ehncke and Russell Smith, downed Goodman-Pembine. Austin Bolssen's six points led the Patriots.
Wisconsin girls basketball begins the season next week. Goodman-Pembine opens play Saturday, Nov. 30, hosting Wausaukee in Pembine.
Wausaukee 7 9 21 15 - 52
Good.-Pem. 7 10 4 22 - 43
WAUSAUKEE: Orlando 14, Kramer 8, Smith 2, Guarniere 10, Delaet 7, Schlies 11. FT: 14-24. F: 12.
GOODMAN-PEMBINE: Glanzer 8, Heath 18, Bose 10, Whitt 7. FT: 4-6. F: 20. Fouled out: Whitt.
3-point FG: Heath 2, Whitt, Orlando, Delaet. FG shooting: Goodman-Pembine 18-43, Wausaukee 18-42. Rebounding: Goodman-Pembine 32 (Glanzer 9, Whitt 9), Wausaukee 30 (Schlies 10).