WALWORTH — Big Foot’s boys basketball roster was loaded with seniors this season. Out of 15 players, 11 were seniors.
So in the final regular-season home game of the year, head coach Jeff Fenrick abandoned his usual rotations in favor of getting the team’s many seniors out on the court as much as possible.
With Fenrick serving as the JV coach before taking the varsity position last season, he has coached most of this senior class for their whole careers.
“We’ve talked about the ride it’s been. Most of these guys had me all four years from JV to varsity. They’re probably sick of me, but I was proud of the way they played and how hard they played,” Fenrick said.
Even though opposing Evansville kept their normal lineup in for most of the contest, the Chiefs hung tough in the Feb. 21 contest, as the Blue Devils won 57-48.
Considering the Chiefs lost 74-49 when the two teams first met on Jan. 11, it was a marked improvement for the group.
At the start of the game, Evansville was able to quickly jump out to a lead, going ahead 15-2 after five and a half minutes. Big Foot was able to respond, though, and six minutes later that lead was down to seven points at 22-15.
The Blue Devils returned to form in the remaining six minutes, and by halftime, their lead was back up to 14 points at 35-21.
When play resumed in the second half, the Chiefs came out guns blazing, and four minutes in, their deficit was back down to single digits, 39-32. That didn’t last long, though, as the Blue Devils quickly netted a couple baskets to get the score to 43-32.
Over the next six minutes, the Evansville lead hovered between 10 and 12 points. While the Chiefs weren’t gaining ground, they weren’t falling farther behind, either, keeping themselves well within striking range.
Big Foot started to make a bit of a comeback, and with 2:45 left in the game, they only trailed by seven, 52-45. The Chiefs shaved a point off the deficit over the next two minutes, and with 33 seconds remaining in the contest, Evansville led 54-48 — only two possessions ahead of BFHS.
As the clock wound down, Big Foot wasn’t able to complete the comeback, and the Blue Devils scored three more points to bring the final score to 57-48.
Making the close game more impressive was the fact that one of Big Foot’s best players barely left the bench all game. Senior Logan Eischeid played for only half a minute, coming in near the end of the game to get an ovation from the crowd alongside his fellow seniors.
After getting a little banged up against Whitewater on Feb. 16, Eischeid was given the game off to rest up before Big Foot’s home playoff game against Milwaukee Lifelong Learning on Feb. 26.
Fenrick was proud of the rest of the team for responding accordingly, with Eischeid getting the night off. The coach thinks if the team carries that into the postseason, they will be in good shape.
“Evansville’s a pretty good team, and we hung with them without Logan,” Fenrick said. “If we can play like that, I think we’re a pretty tough team.”
With Eischeid out, senior A.J. Courier took up the team’s scoring lead with 18 points. Next was fellow senior Max Hildebrandt, who scored eight.