Never miss the
Kaukauna, WI – For the first few minutes of the game, it seemed as if Saturday night’s matchup between host Kaukauna (3-1) and Appleton West (2-3) would be a defensive battle. Neither the Galloping Ghosts nor the Terrors could score a single point through the first two and a half minutes. That changed when Jordan McCabe smoothly executed a reverse layup and followed that with a three-pointer. That was only the beginning of McCabe’s remarkable night as he led Kaukauna to a 101-76 victory behind a triple-double performance.
Appleton West started the game off with a blocked shot and steal, both courtesy of senior forward Eli Hartjes. But the Terrors weren’t able to capitalize on Kaukauna’s early mistakes — turning out to be indicative of how the night would go for them. While the Galloping Ghosts were held scoreless for the first few minutes of action, they quickly jumped out to a 12-2 lead at the 13-minute mark of the first half. Appleton West looked outmatched from the start, as they just could not get shooters open.
Kaukauna came into the game with a clear athletic advantage. After falling to the Kimberly Papermakers the night before, Kaukauna showed great perseverance in their 101 point performance against Appleton West, and the team’s efforts were praised by head coach Michael Schalow.
“It was an opportunity, when we had some adversity, to see how our team was going to respond,” Schalow said. “In 24 hours, you don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of changes, but I thought we had a pretty good walk through this morning […] we played with a little more energy on the defensive end.”
Kaukauna’s defense was stifling for much of the first half. With eight minutes off the clock, Appleton West had only garnered six points, largely due to their high amount of turnovers.
The first half wasn’t all bad for the Terrors. Will Mahoney, a 6’1” sophomore, led the way for his team and did everything he could to keep Appleton West in the game. Bubba Thompson, a junior guard, also had some great contributions by hitting two three-point shots in the final minute of the half, bringing the deficit back to single digits. After McCabe’s buzzer-beater was waved off, the Ghosts went into halftime with a 39-30 lead.
Appleton West was not looking to go down lightly and promptly hit a three right out of halftime. Unfortunately for them, McCabe answered right back with a three of his own. Eric Carl and Keaton Ferris also joined the Kaukauna scoring party by sinking their own three-pointers and eventually pushing the lead to twenty. From there, it only got worse for the Terrors.
While McCabe was scoring at will, inside and out, he was also masterful at facilitating and getting his teammates involved. By the five minute mark of the second half, Kaukauna had swelled its point total to 88 to Appleton West’s 60. Still, the Ghosts weren’t done there. With McCabe on the bench for the remainder of the night, Kaukauna inflated its score to 99 until Rodney Ebben sunk two free throws to put the Ghosts over the century mark, which blew the roof off the crowded Kaukauna High School gym. McCabe would end his night with 31 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds.
“He was tremendous tonight,” Schalow said about McCabe’s performance. “This was certainly his best game this season. Not only was he able to do some things in terms of scoring the basketball, but I thought the way he distributed it tonight […] the ball was moving, and it starts with him.”
Kaukauna improved its record to 3-1 on the year, and won’t play again until December 12th against the Oshkosh West Wildcats.