The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Blugolds and Blue Devils face off in Zorn Arena

UWEC basketball teams compete against UW-Stout
Photo by Rossellin Gaitán
UW-Eau Claire Men’s basketball team racing down the court to defend against UW-Stout.

The women’s and men’s basketball teams played against UW-Stout in back-to-back games this past weekend. The women’s team began their game against the Blue Devils at 4 p.m. and fought a challenging game. At the end of the first period, the game was 28-11. 

The game was filled with frustrations and determination, especially after halftime. Stout played hard as they entered the fourth quarter, but in true Blugold fashion, the women’s team played hard until that final bell rang. The score then sat with UW-Stout in the lead with 71 and Eau Claire at 44. 

The tensions were high in the last minutes. When it entered the final five minutes, the frustration could be felt from the sidelines. With 1:50 remaining on the clock, music playing in the background, discouragement and determination seeped into the court as the women held one of their final side huddles. 

They continued to push hard in those final sixty seconds, leaving it all on the court but ending with a loss of 96-64. 

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Evelyn Walker, a third-year center, said she knew UW-Stout would be a challenging game from the start. She knew that the defense would have to have some profound tweaks for them to advance this season. 

Walker spoke about the team’s persistence and everyone’s desire to keep working hard. The goal was to keep working towards consistency for the conference in two weeks at the time the game was recorded. 

“There are two games left until conference,” Walker said, “we just have to keep working hard.”

Paul Tulechka, father of first-year forward Kailey Tulechka, gave his thoughts on the game.

“These girls are always giving it their all,” Paul said. “Always.”

Paul said he had frustrations as a parent about the defense overall but he recognized that the team knew it would be a challenging game. 

Not too long after a tough loss by the women’s team, the men’s team headed out to the court to warm up and prepare for their turn against the Blue Devils. 

The game started strong, and around 13 minutes in, the Blugolds sat in the lead at 14-13. The game continued steadily, and with every score that UW-Stout gained, the Blugolds and their tenacity hit them back twofold. With 60 seconds left on the clock of the first period, the UW-Eau Claire were in the lead with a score of 36-32.

After halftime, the Blugolds were surpassed for the first time, but not long before they scored and regained the lead. Though confidence rang out, the team kept their cool and both teams left it all on the court. 

As the game drew to a close, the tension grew heavier in the room. Every time someone scored, another was made to one-up it. With exactly 4 minutes left on the clock, the crowd sat at the edge of their seats.

At 2:09 left, the Blugolds were barely in the lead with 73-72. The team made their final huddle and plans with four seconds left on the clock. The Blugolds gave their supporters a satisfying win as they scored the winning shot and ended the game with a score of 81-77. 

Several UW-Eau Claire basketball alumni from the ‘70s attended the game and were honored during halftime. They couldn’t help but express pride after the men’s win. Jeff Ellenson, who played at number 54, and Dennis Elunk, who had played at number 48 in the 1970s for UW-Eau Claire spoke after about their thoughts on the win.

“There are no words. They were outstanding. They played hard. They handle the ball well. They play quickly. They are so fast,” Ellenson said. 

Ken Anderson, who previously spent 27 seasons at UW-Eau Claire as the coach for the men’s basketball team was speechless at the end of the game.

“Terrific game,” Anderson said. 

Amongst the winning team was fourth-year forward Carter Huschka, who wears jersey number 3. Huschka was all smiles as he talked about the energy that his team carried. 

“We held our energy from the beginning to the end,” Huschka said. 

His main goal is to end Zorn’s legacy with a win next Saturday.

Gaitan can be reached at [email protected].

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