Fouls plague Zacharko as Michigan Lutheran hand Sharks their first loss

By Ralph Echtinaw

St. Louis boys and girls basketball teams got a reality check Friday, as both teams lost big at Michigan Lutheran Seminary.

The Shark girls took their first loss after opening the season with four straight wins. While the Shark boys evened their record with one win and one loss.

Boys: St. Louis 57, Michigan Lutheran 72

The Sharks were close at halftime (26-34). But the Cardinals outscored them 26-13 in the third period, essentially putting the game away. The Sharks held the Cardinals to 13 fourth-quarter points while scoring 18 of their own. But it wasn’t enough to climb out of the hole they were in.

“Defense and rebounding killed us,” said coach Nic Gibbons by email. “We just didn’t want the ball as bad as MLS. The game really changed when Thomas (Zacharko) picked up a ticky-tack third foul in the first half, then a fourth foul in the third quarter. Those were when MLS made big runs against us. 

“We had a grand total of two rebounds in the third quarter. I’m guessing when Thomas was off the court, they outscored us by 20 points at least. We shot the ball 50 percent inside the arc and 37 percent from (behind the three-point line). You should never lose a game when you shoot that well.

“But it still comes back to defense and rebounding, and as a team we really failed to be aggressive and pick up the slack when Thomas was on the bench. 

“I thought Landon Pestrue and Josh Dew really played well as third and fourth scoring options. And they were the only ones who seemed to have a sense of urgency and intensity on the defensive end. We’ll learn, work and move on to the next game.”

The Sharks were led by Zacharko (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks), Wisdom Zanquo (11 points, 6 assists), Josh Dew (7 points) and Landon Pestrue (6 points).

Girls: St. Louis 35, Michigan Lutheran 60

The Cardinals jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the first period and extended that to 33-15 at halftime. Coach Doug Knauf’s halftime talk apparently didn’t make much difference, as the Cardinals scored 16 points in the third period to the Sharks’ 6. 

Down 21-49 going into the fourth quarter, the Sharks scored 14 points to the Cardinals’ 11 but lost overall by a score of 60-35.

Junior Josie Schrot managed just 9 points against the Cardinals, her lowest point total to date. (Schrot is the leading St. Louis scorer with 90 points in five games.) Zoey Clarke added 8 points.

The Cardinals were led by Gabi Wenzel (21 points) and  Ava Slieff (9 points).

Looking ahead

The Sharks face the Standish-Sterling Central Panthers on Tuesday, Dec. 13. The girls game is in St. Louis. The boys game is in Standish. JV games begin at 6 p.m. Varsity games begin at 7:30 p.m.

Last season the Panthers beat the St. Louis boys 51-25 and 67-48. The Panther girls beat St. Louis 52-13 and 56-36.

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