Evan Ludwig | email@example.com
Three teams traveled to Superior to compete in the Merrill Thompson Classic along with the Yellowjackets.
Those teams being the UW-Platteville Pioneers, Lawrence University Vikings and the Central College Dutch. “It was cool to see the other teams that played in the tournament because it is weird to see other teams play at Superior,” said Greyson Welch, who worked during the Merrill Thompson Classic.
The Merrill Thompson Classic was named 12 years ago for the UW-Superior graduate.
Thompson was originally recruited to play basketball for the university in 1934 but couldn’t because of a diagnosis of Rheumatic Fever.
Although he could not participate, he regularly attended practices and games. Even long into his retirement years he would attend Yellowjacket home games.
The tournament, which marks the season-opening for the Yellowjackets, is sponsored by National Bank of Commerce.
The first game of the weekend was played by Lawrence and UW-Platteville.
The Lawrence Vikings led the game at halftime, yet the Pioneers would have a strong second half, ultimately winning 82-71 for Platteville’s first win of the season.
The second game of the night would see the hosting Yellowjackets welcome the visiting Dutch of Central College into Mortorelli Gymnasium.
The Yellowjackets would hold a 29-26 lead at halftime and the lead would even reach ten. After the Dutch tied it, the Yellowjackets would get a jump shot from Josef Fahrenholtz with 15 seconds to go and hold off the Dutch 63-57.
In the consolation game of the tournament a poor shooting performance from Lawrence would cost them losing 80-43 to Central.
This game would set up the tournament championship between the Pioneers and Yellowjackets. Going into halftime the Yellowjackets held a ten point lead but would squander the lead ultimately losing 77-68.
This game would see six technical fouls, four for the Yellowjackets and two for the Pioneers.
“It was a good game up until the technical fouls and without those impacting the game I think it could have been an outcome in favor of the Yellowjackets,” said Alex Wilber who was in attendance of the last game of the tournament.
Although unsuccessful in the Merrill Thompson Classic finale, the Yellowjackets competed well in two early season games against out of conference opponents.