By Trenten Scheidegger

    After getting off to a 0-2 start on the 2022-2023 boys’ basketball season, the Winnebago Indians were able to establish a winning streak.

    The streak began on Saturday, December 10, when the Indians held their home opener as they played host to the East Dubuque Warriors.  At 4-0, the Warriors posed a serious threat to a successful home opener for the Indians.  Winnebago was fresh for play, however, as it was their first game action in eight days.

    The first quarter went slightly in East Dubuque’s favor.  At the end of one, the Indians found themselves trailing 10-9. Winnebago was boosted by a solid performance from Ray Maurchie.  His offensive play helped the Indians fight back in the second quarter, where they outscored the Warriors 12-11.

    At the end of the first half, things appeared poised for an exciting finish as the Indians went into the break tied at 21-21.

    The Indians looked their best coming out of the halftime break.  Their defensive adjustments gave the Warriors some trouble as East Dubuque was held to just three points in the third.  It was a game changing quarter as the Indians were able to take a 33-24 lead into the final quarter.

    Although the fourth quarter would feature an offensive shootout, the momentum would stay put in Winnebago’s hands.  The Indians outscored the Warriors 19-14 in the fourth, protecting their lead and earning the 52-38 victory.

    Maurchie led the team in scoring with nineteen points, while Jayden Horton was the next Indian to reach double digits with eleven points.  Not only was it their first victory of the season, but the Indians were the first team to beat the no longer undefeated Warriors.

    Winnebago took the momentum and ran with it.  Just three days later, the Indians were back on their homecourt to play host to the Byron Tigers.  It was the second undefeated team the Indians had faced in a row as the Tigers came into the matchup at 3-0. It was also the conference opener for the Indians as they got into Big North play.

    It was a heated battle, but the Indians managed to defend their homecourt once again as they beat Byron 33-29.

    After having so many days off in the two weeks prior, the Indians hit a busy part of their schedule.  The day after the victory over Byron, Winnebago was right back in action as they traveled to face off with the Forreston Cardinals.  Both teams came into the matchup with two wins as the Cardinals were 2-3.  It was another tight matchup as Winnebago took a 28-25 lead into the halftime break.  The second half featured a defensive battle, but the Indians eventually came out on top 40-38.

    On Thursday, December 15, the Indians were set to play their third game in as many days as they traveled to face off with the Lena-Winslow Panthers.  At 3-1, the Panthers would prove to be a tough opponent for the Indians.

    Winnebago got off to an incredibly hot start with a seventeen point first quarter.  Myles Smith hit a pair of three pointers to get things going.  Kaden Steurer added a first quarter three of his own.  Both Maurchie and Braylon Garrigan added four points each in the first as the Indians took a 17-6 lead into the second quarter.

    Just when the Indians appeared poised for their fourth consecutive win, the Panthers began to claw their way back.  Winnebago didn’t find the same success from deep as they couldn’t hit any threes in the second.  Watts added four points in the second for the Indians, but Winnebago was outscored 10-8 in the quarter.  Still, the Indians took a 25-16 lead into the break.

    The momentum swung even harder in the third quarter as Le-Win outscored the Indians 13-7.  Horton provided nearly all of Winnebago’s offense in the quarter with five points. Despite being outscored in the last two quarters, the Indians still took a 32-29 lead into the final quarter.

    Unfortunately, the Winnebago decline continued into the fourth. After hitting the trio of threes in the opening quarter, the Indians didn’t sink another shot from deep for the remainder of the game.  Winnebago was held to just four points in the fourth, coming from Garrigan and Horton.

      Le-Win managed to keep Maurchie from finding offensive success, and that wound up being the difference in this one.  Winnebago didn’t have a single player in double digits as Horton was the leading scorer with nine, while Garrigan finished with eight.  Maurchie and Smith each finished with six as the Indians fell 37-36, snapping their winning streak.

    The loss dropped Winnebago’s record to 3-3 on the year.  This week, the Winnebago boys are competing in the Forreston Holliday Tournament.

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