Chargers shut down Northland Pines for doubleheader sweep

Dustin Riese

After watching the girls take care of business earlier in the night, it was the boys turn to take the court as Wittenberg-Birnamwood played host to the Northland Pines Eagles on Jan. 29. After weathering a barrage of 3-point baskets in the first half, the Chargers got things rolling using a 16-4 run to open the second half to pull away for the 57-34 victory.

“Great effort by our kids tonight to finish,” head coach Garrett Rogowski said. “Our defense was outstanding, and we had a very balanced attack from the start. That is something we haven’t had a ton of this season so to get that was very promising.”

Known for their 3-point shooting ability, the Eagles came out on fire early as 18 of their 20 first half points came from beyond the arc. Two of them came from Jack Albrecht with Cody Vojta, Jonathan Miller, Anthony Halada and AJ Muench all getting in on the act.

Thankfully the Chargers offense was able to respond, but with the Eagles going to work on the outside, Marshall Fraaza went to work on the inside to put the Chargers in front 7-6.

Trailing by five after a pair of Northland Pines’ triples, the Chargers continued to battle back as a Hayden Miller triple made things a one possession game. That was followed by a pair of Jett Rogowski baskets to put the Chargers back in front 19-18.

It took nearly the entire first half for the Eagles to score on something other than a 3-point shot, but after taking a 20-19 lead late in the first half, it was the Chargers finishing strong. Sparked by Rogowski and Oliver Fraaza, the Chargers ended the first half on a 9-0 run and took a 28-20 lead into the break.

Things only got worse from there for the Eagles as an early Keegan Schmid bucket extended the lead by 10 before reaching 14 on the Oliver Fraaza triple. After not scoring on a single 2-point attempt in the first half, it seems ironic that the first bucket of the second half by the Eagles came on a 2-pointer, with Mylo Albrecht getting one to fall.

That was followed by a flurry of buckets from Rogowski and Boone Schairer as the Chargers busted the game open with a 16-2 run to open the second half and take a 44-22 lead. Add that to the end of the first half and the Chargers used a 25-2 run to take what was a one-point deficit and open up a massive lead.

From there, it was all about getting everyone involved as the Chargers' offense was starting to find their rhythm.

That allowed Jaden Clark to get on the scoresheet late, as did Miller and Connor Groshek. Even with Aiden Minx and Vojta starting to get inside to draw fouls, the 3-point shot wasn’t there for the Eagles.

Not only was this a great win for the Chargers, but to do it in front of some very important people is what made Rogowski happy.

“It was really nice to celebrate the Birnamwood 1953 team and their state qualifying berth tonight,” he said. “Six of the guys who played on that team were here tonight, which is very cool to see. That alone seemed to give us some extra motivation as the kids wanted to put on a good show.”

Rogowski led all scorers with 17 points, with Oliver Fraaza adding 11 as the Chargers improved to 8-7 with the win.

The Eagles were led by Vojta and his eight points, with Halada adding six to bring their record to 6-13 on for the season.