ASHWAUBENON - Friday night's boys basketball matchup between Green Bay Southwest and Ashwaubenon featured two Division I recruits in Bennett Koch and Aaron Moesch, so the thought entering the game was this could be quite a show between two quality players.
As it turned out, the 6-foot-10 Koch and 6-8 Moesch were saddled with foul trouble and when on the court were neutralized by the other team's defense. Moesch, coming off a 33-point performance, scored just eight points, while Koch scored a quiet 16.
With the stars unable to dominate, it was going to be up to the supporting casts to step up and the biggest support came from Justin Schweiner. The Southwest guard scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half as the Trojans withstood a shot in the final seconds and edged the Jaguars, 43-42.
"Those two guys took each other out of the equation, or at least that's what we were kind of thinking would happen," Southwest coach Chris Karcz said. "We knew we had players that were capable of stepping up and Justin certainly did that.
"He probably played the best game of his career."
Schweiner knew Moesch, who was guarded by Koch much of the game, would need help.
"I think every game everyone's going to go for Aaron," Schweiner said. "I just tried to step up. A lot of people don't know about me."
The win for the Trojans (4-2, 2-2), ranked No. 11 in this week's FOX 11, followed a tough loss Monday at home to Notre Dame. Monday, Southwest led by 10 points late in the third quarter only to be outscored by 17 points the rest of the way.
Friday, Southwest's mettle was tested and it passed the test.
"Notre Dame got us and that was tough," Karcz said. "We talked all week about getting better each day in practice, playing together as a team and good things would happen if we did that and tonight they did."
"We just lost a couple games so it's nice to get on a roll," Schweiner said. "They're a good team; I think they're ranked in D-2."
Karcz said this year in the FRCC it's going to be a rare night when a team can just coast so his team has to be ready each time it steps on the court.
"Each and every night is going to be a struggle," Karcz said. "There are no gimmes in this conference; it's a good problem to have. It makes it interesting because you got to work and bring your ‘A' game every night."
The "A" game never showed up for either team as both teams were offensively challenged in the first half as the halftime score was 14-14. Southwest made just three field goals in the first half, while No. 10 Ashwaubenon (5-2, 2-2) was 4-for-25.
"We were 3-for-24 shooting the basketball in the first half and we found a way to win," Karcz said. "It tells me a little bit about the kids. They're willing to do what's necessary. This was a test.
"This was a step for our program. We haven't won big games in the past and now we're trying to put Southwest basketball on the map and hopefully tonight we did that."
"This is really big," Schweiner said. "We stayed positive and we wanted to come out and get a big win."
- 3-pointers: Southwest was 20 of 28 at the free throw line and Ashwaubenon was 12 of 23. … A moment of silence was held before the game for the shootings that occurred in Newtown, Conn., on Friday in which 20 children and 26 people total were killed. … A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee scout was in attendance to watch Moesch, who has walk-on offers from Green Bay and Wisconsin, a scholarship offer from Eastern Illinois and multiple Division II schools.
- Game ball: Schweiner, who came up big in the second half.
- Numbers game: 10 Made free throws in 14 attempts for Southwest in the fourth quarter.
(11) GREEN BAY SOUTHWEST 43, (10) ASHWAUBENON 42
GB Southwest… 11 3 10 19 — 43
Ashwaubenon….7 7 12 16 — 42
GB Southwest: Justin Schweiner 19, Jason Baranowski 10, Aaron Moesch 8.
Ashwaubenon: Bennett Koch 16, Kyle Monroe 13.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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