CWS Sports Desk
January 18, 2019
Wausau– Patience and discipline are not two words that Wisconsin Rapids head coach Dan Witter would typically use to describe his team’s play to this point of the 2018-19 season. After all, coming into their tilt against Wausau West, Rapids only had three wins to its credit, two of which were against Wisconsin Valley Conference opponents.
So forgive Witter for being surprised at the level of maturity his team displayed in a 58-40 win over the Wausau West Warriors on Friday night.
“It’s unusual for us,” said Witter with a wry smile.
It may be unusual, but it’s probably something Witter could get used to.
Rapids applied plenty of pressure at the outset of the game, but it wasn’t until the second half that they really poured it on.
The Red Raiders came out of intermission with a 29-22 lead, then went on a 12-0 run to open the second half and take complete control of the game.
It wasn’t flashy and it wasn’t filled with dozens of awe-inspiring individual highlights, but it was effective.
As Rapids’ lead continued to increase, it would have been easy for the Red Raiders to become sloppy on offense. Instead, they stuck to the game plan. And that might pay big dividends as the season rolls into the second half of conference play and, ultimately, the WIAA playoffs.
“The discipline we talk about is you’re not playing for this 20-point win, you’re playing for a five-point game, when you have to make a play and be patient and you have to win the game,” Witter said. “And that’s what I try to impress upon them. It isn’t always this situation we’re playing for. I was happy we showed we can do that.”
Rapids got a big lift offensively from Nathan Krommenakker, who scored a game-high 24 points.
“Nathan Krommenakker, he’s been struggling lately, so tonight he shot the ball well,” said Witter. “We’ve been waiting for that. He’s shown that at times, but has struggled a little thus far in the conference. So it’s great to see that.”
“My teammates were getting me open,” Krommenakker said. “We were able to get some open shots, which got the driving lanes open. I was just taking advantage of it.”
West got 12 points from Logan White and 12 points from Mitchell Zahurones, but the Red Raiders forced the Warriors out of their game plan early. West was never able to recover.
“I just felt like we were never locked in,” said West coach Nate Lemmens “Some of our scouting report stuff and our defensive principles kind of went out of the window. We allowed them to impose their will on us.”
Rapids has a tough stretch ahead as they face Marshfield and SPASH next week. Wausau West will try to regroup as they prepare for action against Merrill and D.C. Everest, respectively.
Rapids Scoring: Pelot 6, Krommenakker 24, Lisitza 17, Kautzer 2, Tammen 1, Wiernik2, Schooley 6
West Scoring: Williams 1, Zahournes 12, Rapp 4, Hartman 3, Fuchs 2, White 12, Nelke 3, Richardt 3