Jake Martin

Junior Jake Martin passes to an open teammate while McFarland’s Max Hanson works on defense in Whitewater’s 66-55 boys basketball defeat against the Spartans Thursday in McFarland. Martin led all scorers with 21 points.

McFARLAND — McFarland High School boys basketball coach Jeff Meinholdt admitted it wasn’t everyday that his team got to play against a 7-foot tall player. But that’s what the Spartans had to deal with when Whitewater came to visit Thursday night.

Junior Jake Martin led all scorers with 21 points, but McFarland came away with a 66-55 win in a battle between the Rock Valley Conference rivals.

“Martin has gotten so much better since he was a freshman and he was tough to handle,” Meinholdt said after Martin scored 12 first-half points to keep the Whippets within four points of the Spartans, 29-25 at halftime.

“He’s always tough. Sometimes he gets the ball and there’s not much you can do,” said senior Max Hanson, McFarland’s tallest player at 6-foot-7. “He gets his points, but we do our best.”

It looked like the Spartans (10-8 overall, 8-6 in the Rock Valley Conference) might run away with the game with nine straight points to start the second half to lead 38-25. But Whitewater (7-12, 5-10) chipped away at the lead as a tip in by Martin and a 3-point shot by junior Carter Brown reduced the lead to 38-37 with 11:30 remaining.

“We were just sloppy and turning the ball over at a rate we shouldn’t be,” Meinholdt said. “We were making some really bad passes that we don’t want to make. When you do that, you take some shots away from yourself.”

A 12-2 run by the Spartans, including two 3-point baskets by junior Jackson Werwinski, rebuilt the lead to 50-39 with eight minutes to play. Two free throws by junior Peter Zimdars knocked it down to 54-45 with six minutes to go, but that’s as close as Whitewater would get as a layup by junior Blake Kes increased McFarland’s cushion to 66-51 with under a minute to play.

Zimdars had 10 points for Whitewater and sophomore Wyatt Nickels scored nine including a 3-point shot.

McFarland was led by Werwinski with 17 points and junior guard Pete Pavelec who had 16. The Spartans made seven shots from the arc with Werwinski hitting three and Pavelec two.

Whitewater will host Brodhead in Rock Valley action Tuesday in Whitewater at 7:15 p.m.

McFARLAND 66, WHITEWATER 55

Whitewater 25 30 — 55

McFarland 29 37 — 66

Whitewater (fg ftm-fta pts) — Martin 10 1-2 21, Frye 1 0-0 2, Grosinske 0 2-2 2, Pease 1 0-0 2, Zimdars 4 2-2 10, Aron 1 0-1 2, Brown 2 2-3 7, Nickels 4 0-0 9. Totals — 23 7-10 55.

McFarland — E. Nichols 3 1-1 7, Z. Nichols 1 0-0 3, Pavelec 5 4-5 16, Werwinski 6 2-2 17, Kes 3 3-4 9, Larson 1 0-2 2, Hanson 4 0-2 9, Kussow 1 1-1 3. Totals — 24 11-17 66.

3-point goals — WW (Brown, Nickels) 2; MF (Nichols, Pavelec 2, Werwinski 3, Hanson) 7. Total fouls — WW 16, MF 15.

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