Madison Edgewood’s Wilke Gymnasium court will have two new additions next season: the names of boys basketball coach Chris Zwettler and girls basketball coach Lora Staveness will be inscribed in logos on the floor’s surface.
Before Friday night’s Monona Grove-Edgewood boys game, the two longtime Crusaders’ coaches were recognized for their contributions to the school during a dedication and had the court named after them.
“I’ve been a very lucky man,” said Zwettler, inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2017. “On my human side and competitive side, I wish we were having a better year to celebrate this. But I’m very lucky and feel very humbled by (the honor). I appreciate it.”
Once the Badger South Conference game began, however, it was senior center Jake Schroeckenthaler, junior forward Sam Hepp and Monona Grove, ranked sixth in Division 2 in The Associated Press poll, that owned the court during a 73-48 victory.
The Silver Eagles (18-1 overall, 10-1 Badger South) scored 20 unanswered points in the second half, turning a five-point advantage into a 55-30 lead in a span of 6 minutes, 14 seconds.
Schroeckenthaler had a game-high 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots for Monona Grove, which pulled into a tie with Stoughton for first place in conference play after Monroe edged Stoughton on Friday night.
“The huge key was ball movement, just trusting each other — moving the ball correctly, getting the ball inside and getting the ball outside,” said Schroeckenthaler, who faced a double-team in the second half after scoring 11 points in the first half.
The 6-7 Hepp scored 16 points and 6-4 senior Jimmy Thome contributed 12 points for the Silver Eagles.
“Our defense picked up the tempo,” said Dan Zweifel, who coached his 500th game for Monona Grove and said he’s now 273-227. “We were in a little foul trouble. Our energy from our bench tonight, from Henry Huston and Alec Ogden, was really key. Those guys did an admirable job coming in. They provided a spark. … We were able to get in transition a little bit.”
After the Crusaders (6-13, 3-8) cut a 33-21 halftime deficit to 35-30, the Silver Eagles made their move while winning their seventh consecutive game.
“They are so capable,” Zwettler said. “That’s why we were trying to be patient and trying to get the double-stack offense going, and trying to keep them from that run. They are good. They are very good. Dan does a great job. He has a really nice group of kids. Schroeckenthaler is a man. He is a man against boys.”
The Crusaders, who have lost five in a row, remained without 6-5 senior forward Mandela Deang, sidelined with a back injury, Zwettler said. Senior guard Braydon Murphy sank four 3-pointers and led Edgewood with 16 points. Senior guard Josh Duffek hit three 3-pointers among his 14 points.
“Those two guys have played well all year,” Zwettler said. “I’m proud of them. I hope they can keep it up down the stretch.”
Schroeckenthaler dominated inside and Monona Grove built a 12-point halftime lead. The Silver Eagles scored the game’s first six points, then scored the final eight points of the first half after the Crusaders rallied within four. That run in the last 2:40 before halftime included Huston’s four free throws, senior guard Max Nelson’s putback and Hepp’s basket off a drive.
Zweifel was glad to see Zwettler, his closest friend in the coaching fraternity, receive the honor before the game and then was pleased to come away with the victory.
“I thought our defense was key,” said Zweifel, whose team defeated Edgewood for the second time this season. “To hold a team to 48 points, that is fantastic. That’s what we will have to do to beat the rest of the teams in the Badger this year.”
Monona Grove 33 40 — 73
Madison Edgewood 21 27 — 48
MONONA GROVE — Ogden 3 0-1 6, M. Nelson 2 0-0 4, C. Nelson 3 0-0 6, Hepp 7 1-1 16, Thome 5 2-5 12, Schroeckenthaler 7 4-5 18, Huston 0 5-6 5, Gronski 0 2-2 2, Nett 1 0-0 2, Antonson 0 2-2 2. Totals 28 16-22 73.
MADISON EDGEWOOD — Meriggioli 2 2-3 6, Cruz 1 0-1 2, Duffek 4 3-4 14, Fahrney 0 2-4 2, Hegenbarth 0 2-2 2, Murphy 5 2-3 16, Thelen 0 1-3 1, Browne 1 0-0 2, Wendler 0 1-2 1, Clark 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 15-24 48.
3-point goals — MG 1 (Hepp 1), ME 7 (Duffek 3, Murphy 4). Total fouls — MG 22, ME 20.