By BURT ANGELI
NIAGARA, Wis. - Goodman-Pembine, cementing itself as a man-to-man defensive team, turned back rival Niagara 51-43 in non-conference boys basketball Friday.
Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo
Alex Whitt shoots over Niagara’s Jacob Oratch (left) and Brandon Holcomb (41) in Friday’s non-conference basketball game. The Patriots emerged with a 51-43 victory.
The ailing Patriots held their regional foe without a field goal for six minutes in the third quarter and the final three of the game.
"Defense was what won the game," Patriots coach Paul Whitt said. "We're a better defense playing man."
The Badgers, who shot 27 percent from the floor, trailed by just one (42-41) late in the game despite their shooting woes.
"I thought we played pretty well overall," Niagara Coach Jim Hoogland said. "We just couldn't put the ball in the hole. We had a lot of good shots."
Trent Heath's 19 points led the Patriots. Austin Glanzer registered 17 points and 12 rebounds while Alex Whitt totaled 13 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
Zach Walker fueled the Badgers with 24 points, 14 rebounds and four steals.
Neither team was in the best of health although both played high-energy, physical basketball for 32 minutes.
"The MASH unit found a way to gut one out against the defending regional champs," Whitt said. "I was most proud of them for this one. I knew we weren't 100 percent.
"Because we had so many sick I wanted to play some zone (in the first half) and save some guys' energy."
Niagara jumped out to a 9-1 spread but GP rallied for a 12-12 tie after the first period. Three straight Joey Swanson buckets gave the Badgers a 19-16 lead with five minutes left in the second quarter.
Niagara's Adam Parent drained a basket and triple in the final 50 seconds for a 27-23 halftime margin.
"The problem is we were real undisciplined in it (zone) and they've got guys that can knock down shots from the perimeter," Whitt said. "Between Walker, Parent and Swanson they made us pay."
Whitt credited assistant Steve Sigmund for suggesting the Patriots go to the man (with help) defense.
"I think that was the difference," Whitt said. "We played so much better defense. It energized us and we boxed out better (rebounding)."
The once-beaten Patriots launched the third quarter on a 15-2 run for a 38-29 advantage with 2:08 showing. Heath netted eight in that stretch.
In the fourth quarter, two Walker buckets and a pair of Swanson free throws knifed the deficit to 42-41 at 3:12. The Patriots closed out the game with a 9-2 run, with four points from Alex Whitt and three from Glanzer.
"We worked very hard, we played really hard," Hoogland said. "I just love our hustle."
On Tuesday, Goodman-Pembine (12-1) faces Three Lakes in Goodman and Niagara (5-6) travels to league power Peshtigo.
Ethan Blagec scored 13 points and Tyler Rice added 11 as Niagara nipped Goodman-Pembine 33-27 in overtime in the junior varsity contest. Michael Bruce and Josh Grandaw led the Patriots with nine points each.
Good-Pem 12 11 15 13 - 51
Niagara 12 15 7 9 - 43
GOODMAN-PEMBINE: Glanzer 17, Krzywicki 2, Heath 19, Whitt 13. FT: 10-23. F: 9.
NIAGARA: Walker 24, Swanson 9, Moreau 2, Parent 8. FT: 7-10. F: 19.
3-point FG: Walker 4, Swanson, Parent. Rebounding: Niagara 28 (Walker 14), GP 35 (Glanzer 12, Whitt 11). FG shooting: Niagara 15-56, GP 19-43.