Fielding a a deep and talented roster, Marshfield boys basketball coach Bill Zuiker has been fielding a lot of questions so far this season on the potential of his team.
"People ask me all the time -- how's your team, how's your team? I tell them we have enough, but we don't have an abundance," Zuiker said. "We don't have an abundance of height or strong shooters, but we are fairly athletic and we are fairly deep."
That was on display Friday, as the Tigers remained perfect in the Wisconsin Valley Conference with a 59-45 win over host Wausau West. Marshfield held the short-handed Warriors -- who were short four players due to injury -- without a field goal in the second quarter, and finished the half on a 12-2 run to take control of the game.
"We're happy to get a road win any time," Zuiker said. "We tell the kids, we have to defend your own court and get as many as you can on the road because it's tough."
Marshfield junior Lucas Zuiker scored a team-high 18 points, and Isaac Accola added 11 points, including three of the Tigers' six 3-pointers. West sophomore Taylor Penn had 13 points to lead the Warriors, who cut an 18-point second-half deficit to 54-43 with just under three minutes left in regulation, but missed five straight field goal attempts down the stretch.
Wausau West seniors Justin Duffy and Brad Utegaard are both out indefinitely with back injuries, and Andrew Wolfe is out with a concussion. Penn played with a deep thigh bruise that kept him out of practice the past three days.
"I'm proud of our kids. I thought they played extremely hard and didn't quit," West coach Jeff Bruggink said.
"We were 0 for 7 or 0 for 8 in the second quarter, you take that out and we were even (with Marshfield). We were really young tonight. There were times we had four sophomores on the floor, but I thought they competed."
The lead changed hands three times in the first quarter, which ended with the Warriors holding a 13-12 lead. Marshfield held West to four free throws by Brendan Lewandowski over the next eight minutes, behind an aggressive man-to-man defense.
"They were really getting up in our grill," "Bruggink said. "It was a physical game with a lot of contact. We talked at halftime about how we needed to start attacking off the dribble.
"They weren't going to back off (on defense). I think we kind of stepped back and let them dictate the tempo and we just didn't do a good job of reacting well (in the second quarter). We got much more aggressive in the second half and I think it showed."
MARSHFIELD (59): Jeff Allison 2, Mark Scheppler 2, Isaac Accola 11, Matt Oestreich 10, Lucas Zuiker 18, Luke Olson 6, Tanner Dennis-Brown 4, Alex Strege 6.
WAUSAU WEST (45): Kyle Nickel 11, Jordan Huehnerfuss 5, Andrew Fischer 8, Carson Weber 4, Taylor Penn 13, Brendan Lewandowski 4.
3-pointers: Marshfield 6 (Accola 3, Zuiker 2, Olson); Wausau West 7 (Penn 3, Fischer 2, Huehnerfuss, Nickel).