Division 4 & 5 WIAA Playoffs
Wildcats Wrangle Regional Title In Overtime
Lena Overtakes M&O
Bane N.E.W Lutheran
to Earn Regional
The Lena Wildcats did what no M&O team has been able to do in the recent memory. That is take down the N.E.W Lutheran Blazers on post season hardwood. They accomplished the feat by way of a 73-58 margin. A victory that carries with it bragging rights and maybe just a little momentum as the Wildcats eye up a sectional title.
In this matchup the Wildcats wasted no trips to the hoop and used their time wisely. If they hadn't the Blazers may have slain another M&O foe.
But this is no ordinary Wildcat team. They are extraordinary. Leading the charge in this one and many of the games this season were Connor Heise and Hunter Borchert, no surprise. These two can do it all. But don't forget about Dalton Anderson. A crucial lynch pin for the Wildcats. When eyes are being directed at Heise and Borchert teams often leave him open in the corner. A deadly mistake, cause this guy knows how to keep a barrage on point. Swish. A sound Anderson has made opponents hear time and again.
"This game was very big for our kids," said Lena Head Coach Jeff Heimke. "They have knocked us out of the playoffs for 4 straight years, so that win was a long time coming. That game was the most energy and emotion that I have seen from our kids this year. They remembered the history and played with a chip on their shoulder."
Riley Marquardt is another ingredient on this Wildcat team that has helped secured many wins this season and against N.E.W it was no different.
"We also played man to man defense with Riley Marquardt guarding Samuel Meerstein from NEW," said Heimke. "He came in averaging over 20 per game and Riley held him to 1 point in the first half. I thought that was an outstanding effort."
After one half of play the Wildcats had made a statement, not today N.E.W, not today. As they built a 39-28 lead which they held over the second, outscoring the Blazers 34-30.
Threes came in by the bucket load in the first half, helping build that substantial lead. Riley Marquardt, Colby Borchert, Anderson and Hunter Borchert all started their game stats off with three point buckets helping to throw the Blazers off balance. Heise bagged his first three after a trip to the free throw line, so that is 18 early game points from downtown. A real salvo if there ever was one. Heise was key to the first half lead, going on to add up 19 opening stanza points.
Over the second the drive was brought to life in the hands of Anderson and Hunter Borchert. The two combined for 15 charity line points. Borchert ended the day eight of 10 from the line while Anderson posted a seven of eight showing.
Hunter Borchert was the evening's top performer with 23 points and was followed by Heise with 21. Anderson got 12.
The Blazer's were led by Mitchell Lynch with 12 while Samuel Meerstein and Jeremy Sudzinski rang in 11 points each.
Suring Advances To
The Suring Eagles advanced to the WIAA Regional Final thanks to a hard earned 62-51 victory over the slim and scrappy St. Thomas Aquinas Cavaliers.
Anyone who has had a chance to see the Cavaliers this season know that, though the squad is limited, multiple games were played with less than five on the court, but certainly not limited in the talent department.
Just look at that final score. Suring is no push over, with a 1,000 point scorer on the squad and multiple threats from both inside and out, it certainly is no easy task putting this team away.
One of those Eagle threats Friday night was Chris Geniesse, and he proved that he is a tough and quick point guard as he made his way to five opening half buckets for a 10 point push.
STAA's Tyler Stuart helped keep the Cavs close in the first with seven points.
Suring's Mr.1000, Ryan Mahoney had some success in the first, bagging eight points but really shined in the second where he piled up six charity line points, a three and two doubles to lead all scorers with 21.
Jack Farley began finding a rhythm in the second for the Cavs posting a five of seven line showing while sinking four doubles to lead the Cars with 17.
Farley was followed by Joe Faucett with 16 and Stuart with 13.
After Mahoney on the Suring charts was Geniesse with 19 points and John Christensen with 10.
Overtime Again as
Wildcats Ground Eagles
Saturday afternoon the Suring Eagles opened their gym doors for the arrival of the Lena Wildcats. A WIAA match up for the Regional Title and a grudge match between two teams who fought in overtime a mere couple weeks ago.
In the regular season showdown the Wildcats outlasted the Eagles for a thrilling overtime victory that was keyed by a last second Hunter Borchert three point bucket to send the game to overtime.
"We know Suring is always going to be a tough game," said Wildcat Head Coach Jeff Heimke. "Especially meeting for the third time in a season. We got down by 12 about halfway through the second half. They had back to back steals for layups to push their lead to 12. Then We switched out of our zone and picked up man to man to try to get some pressure on them, and we were able to just slowly chip away at their lead."
Well it looks like they still are about as evenly matched as two M&O teams can get because they found themselves locked in a similar battle Saturday evening.
After overtime the Wildcats again were on top 65-61. A heartbreaker for the Eagles who have had to stomach their second OT loss to the quick striking Wildcats.
The scoring couldn't have been tighter. Over the first the Wildcats controlled a one point edge 25-24. But Suring, refusing to give an inch, took that inch back over the second 30-29. Which spelled overtime for the two M&O powers.
It was the Wildcats who took control in that final overtime decider as Dalton Anderson struck on a three point bucket and three of his four free throw line shots to help bolster the Wildcats over the Eagles 11-7.
Hunter Borchert finished the night with three triples to his name as well as five doubles for a team leading 19 points.
"Hunter Borchert played extremely well. He's a leader on the court and played like it on Saturday," said Heimke. "He basically has to move from center to point guard when Connor comes out, and he filled that void really well. He played with poise having the ball in his hands. He ended the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 0 turnovers."
Heise followed up with 17 off five inside buckets, one three and a four of four line showing. Riley Marquardt rounded off Lena's top scorers with 10.
Geniesse bagged top scoring honors for the Eagles with 22 points while Mahoney chipped in 17 to the total. Mitchel Stegeman finished the evening with seven points.
"I am very proud of the mental toughness of our kids. We were down by 12 and Suring had all of the momentum, but our kids just keep battling and finding ways to win," said Heimke. "Great win for our kids, one they had to fight for. We are really looking forward to playing Thursday night. For our kids to play in a sectional in front of a crowd that will be approaching 2,000 people will be an experience that they will never forget. We have a lot of respect for Gresham and the program they have built, but we are going to come out on Thursday night and give them our best shot."
TO's Spell Defeat
The Crivitz Wolverines hosted the Auburndale Apaches Friday night for a WIAA Regional semi-final that saw the Apaches victorious after overtime 66-63.
From the get go it became apparent that this was going to be a down and out battle to the end. By the half the Wolverines enjoyed a 24-19 lead. A margin that may have been a bit larger if it were not for a couple handfuls of turnovers given up by the Wolverines. Over that opening half the Wolverines turned the ball over nine times. In comparison the Apaches gave up only nine over the course of the whole game.
"We have done a good job for most of the season limiting turnover's," said Crivitz Head Coach Jeff Baumann. "But tonight I'm not sure what happened. I think maybe our inexperience led to a few more mistakes than we wanted to happen."
Travis Giese got the Wolverines on the board with two free throw points followed by Kershaw Stumbris to make it 4-0. Auburndale answered with two scores from Colton Wright, one of which was from behind the arc to make it 5-4 Apaches.
Shane Bauer got on the charts with a three point bucket and a short while later Jakob Voss hit from deep as well to make it 12-12. Jaden Werner helped bring the Wolverines back to one away from the lead with a close score.
After a timeout with seven minutes left in the half, Voss struck off a rebound to take back the lead 18-17. Giese extended that lead with two straight scores along with Charlie Johnsen who tagged one on to the rally for the 24-17 lead.
"At the half we talked about about cutting down the turnovers and playing with more intensity," said Baumann. "We came out of the locker room and hit a three and it looked like we were going to do that but then we went stale. We didn't rotate well enough and had we been able to, I think it would have been a different game."
Then in the second half Auburndale's Luke Olsen began to light up the score board to close the gap with his 14 point performance.
"In our 1-3-1 we struggled to stop them," said Baumann. "We couldn't keep that intensity that we had in the first half," said Baumann. "So we went man-to-man and narrowed the lead to five. With about 30 seconds remaining we began pressing and got it down to two." said Baumann.
Were it not for a last second three point bucket by Stumbris and a Voss to Giese inside scor,e the Wolverines would not have gotten a second chance in overtime.
"Though they definetly held the edge over us in the turnover department and second chance points where they had 14 to our 3," said Baumann. "We did do well scoring in transition where we had 18 to their five."
Giese took top scoring honors with 24 points while Stumbris added up 11. Voss ended the night with nine.
"The guys worked their tails off this season," said Baumann. "We were a young team this year, but what I enjoyed seeing was the growth in leadership of our seniors, like Kershaw and Travis. Though our inexperience hurt us a bit today I'm very excited that I had three freshmen play a lot this season. The group coming up this year looks just as good, I'm excited for next season when their will be enough guys to really create some competition within the team. I have been working to get this program to this point."
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