The Mariners suffered their second nine-point loss in three games, this time at home to New Berlin West, 56-47, on Jan. 25. The defeat extended their losing streak to seven games.
"The kids are getting better," said St. Francis coach John Kloppenburg, whose team began this week at 1-13 overall and 0-10 in the Woodland Conference. "We're in a situation where they could have packed it in a long time ago and they haven't. That's a big credit to them.
"As long as we keep that attitude and keep working hard, I think we'll get a few wins yet."
The Mariners hung tough with the Vikings until the fourth quarter. St. Francis trailed by only one, 27-26, at halftime and by two, 37-35, at the end of three periods. The Mariners even had a small lead early in the third.
"The kids just ran out of gas," Kloppenburg said. "I thought we matched up well with them. We didn't shoot the ball very well, but for the most part, it was a game that went back and forth."
Ronrico Ragsdale had 15 points and Dale Gilewski added 12 as the Mariners had multiple players reach double digits in scoring for just the third time this season. Nate Studer chipped in with nine points.
"Since we've gone to pushing the ball, that helps the offense," Kloppenburg said. "Somebody always has to cover Rico, and that frees up Dale. Studer has made steady improvement all year and is becoming an inside presence for us."
West's Ben Wisniewski led all players with 21 points. Teammates Tyler Garvens and Rob Guertsen added 25 combined.
New Berlin West 56, St. Francis 47
New Berlin West (14-13-10-19-56) Ben Wisniewski 21, Tyler Garvens 13, Rob Guertsen 12, Mike Giammarco 8, Adam Kuhl 2. Field goals 21; free throws 11-16 (69%); 3-point goals 3, Guertsen 2, Wisniewski.
St. Francis (11-15-9-12-47) Ronrico Ragsdale 15, Dale Gilewski 12, Nate Studer 9, Jordan Fischer 4, Cory Knapp 3, Caleb Hargreaves 2, Chris Hemmer 2. Field goals 17; free throws 10-16 (63%); 3-point goals 3, Gilewski 2, Knapp.
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