Boys basketball: Park surges past Ponies in second half

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Sophomore Charlie Gorres scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as Park pulled away from Stillwater for a 55-35 Suburban East Conference boys’ basketball victory on Friday, Feb. 3 at Stillwater Area High School.

It was the 10th loss in a row for the Ponies (1-10 SEC, 3-16), who pulled even at 20-all going into the break. Stillwater felt optimistic to be in the position it was, despite committing 14 turnovers in the first half, but it was the Wolfpack who took charge after the intermission.

“We were very optimistic going into the second half,” Ponies coach Brady Hannigan said. “We had only given up 20 points and we had 33 possessions in the first half and 14 were turnovers. We figured we’d clean that up and we’ll get this thing rolling, but we continued to turn the ball over and they became more efficient on the offensive end.”

Fisher Jakupciak came off the bench to spark the Ponies with a strong first half — scoring four points and grabbing eight rebounds — but he took a blow to the head which sidelined him for the remainder of the game.

“Fisher was playing a heckuva game,” Hannigan said. “He was the motor of our team and he got hit in the eye and it swelled shut and he was done for the game. We weren’t able to find the energy and spark we lost with him. Right now we struggle sometimes in that aspect and Fisher does a good job of always giving us his best.”

The Ponies had no answer inside for Gorres, who helped Park (1-9, 6-12) snap a seven-game losing streak. Brendan Beaulieu finished with 14 points and Brandon Alt added nine for the Wolfpack, who outscored Stillwater 35-15 in the second half.

“They shot the ball well and they were getting pretty easy looks,” Hannigan said. “We got some good looks but weren’t able to put the ball in the hoop early on. Then we started rushing and pressing things and when we started to feel tight we missed shots and it snow-balled. We’re not going to win many games scoring 20 and 15 points in a half.”

Park 20 35 — 55

Stillwater 20 15 — 35

Park (pts): Josh Kuemmel 4, Brandon Alt 9, Avery Freeman 2, Cole Herder 1, Brendan Beaulieu 14 and Charlie Gorres 25.

Stillwater: Lucas Braun 14, Josh Lorenson 5, Fisher Jakupciak 4, Nate Shikenjanski 2, Evan Parker 3 and Devontae Hatcher 7.

3-pointers: Par (4): Kuemmel, Beaulieu 2 and Gorres; St (2): Lorenson and Parker.

Free throws: Par, 7-10; St, 7-9.

Fouls: Par, 8; St, 13.

Fouled out: None.