The Stoughton boys basketball team opened the season going 2-1 and rebounded knocking off Portage in a Badger Conference crossover after a 17-point loss to McFarland on Saturday.
Coach Nolan Weber admitted the pieces are still a work in progress.
“For us the biggest issue is the little stuff,” Weber said. “It’s a new group of kids. They don’t know how to play hard all the time and they don’t know the intensity level it takes to be a good varsity team.
“Until we figure that stuff out all of the other basketball and press break goes by the wayside. We have a lot of maturing to do as players.”
Stoughton (2-1) was plagued by turnovers Saturday trying to attack the Spartans’ press during a 70-53 nonconference road loss.
“I think what this team looks like in the 22nd game of the year will be much different than the second half tonight,” Weber said.
The loss was a stark contrast to Stoughton’s 74-46 season-opening win Nov. 20 over Janesville Parker.
Stoughton junior guard Adam Hobson and sophomore guard Cael McGee combined to score 35 points Tuesday to help the Vikings roll to a 72-49 win over Portage.
Senior Drew Anderson posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Stoughton raced out to a 29-15 lead at the half. Anderson hit two 3-pointers.
“Our defense was the really big key,” Weber said.
Portage’s Eli Considine, who scored 39 points in the season opener, was limited to 20 points by the Vikings on 5-for-25 shooting.
“We did a really good job of making it tough on him,” Weber said. “We made him work for it.”
McFarland 70, Stoughton 53
Stoughton struggled breaking the press and McFarland rolled to a 70-53 win.
The Vikings had 19 turnovers and trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half.
“We can go one of two ways,” Weber said. “We can let this define us or we can step up and figure some things out.”
McFarland junior Jeremiah Price-Johnson scored all of his game-high 17 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers.
The Vikings shot 42.8 percent (9 of 21) in the first half, but were plagued by 12 turnovers. Stoughton finished the game shooting 36.1 percent (17 of 47).
McFarland 6 foot, 6 inch senior Trevon Chislom had a pair of two-handed dunks to ignite the Spartans and the crowd in the second half and extended the Spartans’ lead to 48-30.
“They definitely surprised us,” Anderson said. “We didn’t have press break fully set in. They were just long, got a bunch of steals and sped us up.”
Anderson scored a team-high 14 points for Stoughton.
Weber said he was expecting the Spartans to press and was surprised by how effective it was in the nonconference game.
“I was hoping we could get out and get in transition,” he said. “I thought it may play into our hands a little bit. Fortunately for them, I think they allowed it to be pretty physical. We allowed that to back us down and take away some of our aggressiveness.”
Stoughton sophomore forward Reece Sproul had 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
“For a sophomore and his first start, I think he competed as hard as anybody we had out on the floor,” Weber said of Sproul. “He’s a long athletic kid who can get you some extra stuff when he plays hard. He has the highest ceiling of anybody on this team.
“It’s just a matter of his motor and tonight he had it.”
Hobson added 11 points.
Anderson said the Vikings have to play better defense and handle the ball smarter.
“We need to learn to show up to big games,” he said. “We just need to learn to come back from deficits. We need to watch film and pick up on the mistakes.”
Janesville Parker 46
McGee exploded for a game-high 31 points Nov. 20 to lead the Vikings to a 74-46 season-opening win over Janesville Parker.
A 13-2 run to start the game gave Stoughton an early double-digit lead with 13:20 to play in the half. McGee scored 18 of Stoughton’s first 22 points and his two free throws with 7:41 to play in the half pushed the lead to 22-8.
Anderson added 12 points and Sproul chipped in eight points.
Stoughton will host Madison Edgewood on Friday.