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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Boys Basketball): Boys Dream Tournament Final Four Results
Okey leads 1995 Cassville past 1964 Dodgeville, 59–53, to claim boys championship
Boys Championship

NOTE: The Final Four and Championship results of the SW Wisconsin Boys Dream Tournament were published in the Grant County Herald Independent, The Platteville Journal, Fennimore Times, Republican Journal, Tri-County Press and the Richland Observer June 10-11. The Boys All-Dream Tournament Team will be published in the same area newspapers June 17-18.

Boys Championship

by Jason Nihles

1995 Cassville 59, 1964 Dodgeville 53
MADISION — The 1964 Dodgeville boys basketball team’s run to the single-class state title, which included a stunning 59–45 upset of big city Milwaukee North, was a story for the ages.

So was Cassville’s 6’7” phenom Sam Okey, who led the Comets to four straight WIAA D4 championship games and back-to-back undefeated state titles as a junior and senior in 1994 and 1995. 

In a battle of all-time classics, exactly what this tournament was all about, Okey and his 1995 Cassville Comets prevailed over Hall of Fame coach John “Weenie” Wilson’s undefeated Dodgers 59–53 in the championship game of the Southwest Wisconsin Boys Basketball Dream Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Wilson’s Dodgers (31–1) answered fellow Hall of Fame coach Dennis Uppena’s Comets shot for shot in the first half, but as the game wore on Okey grew stronger.

The 6’7” McDonald’s All-American, 1995 Mr. Basketball and future Big 10 Freshman of the Year at Wisconsin, imposed his will in the third and fourth quarters to carry the Comets to a six-point victory, proving why many still consider him the greatest player to come out of this part of the state and certainly one of the best prep hoop stars Wisconsin has ever produced.

Okey scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, including 10 in a key 13–2 Cassville third-quarter run that helped the Comets grab the lead for good. The superstar senior finished 10 for 19 from the field, including 2 of 4 from 3-point land, and 8 of 10 at the free throw line. 

Okey’s left-hander baseline dunk early in the third quarter tied the game at 27–27 and ignited the Comets’ 13–2 run. The next trip down court he drilled a 25-foot 3-pointer from the left wing and Cassville never trailed again.

Okey blocked a Carlos Evans shot in the lane and junior guard Tim Ackerman slashed to the hoop for a layup.

Dodgeville senior forward Pat Flynn hit a 8-foot shot, the Dodgers’ only points during in a five-minute stretch, to make it 32–29.

Cassville senior point guard John Koopman connected on a 3-pointer on the Comets’ next possession, then after the team’s traded turnovers, Okey was fouled on a putback basket and converted the three-point play to make it 38–29 with 3:11 left in the third quarter.

Dodgeville’s 6’5” senior center Rick Brown ended the Cassville run when classmate Bob Rock drove and drew the attention of Okey, before finding Brown open under the hoop for two.

Rock was fouled on a jump shot and made both free throws, and Flynn scored in transition on the next Dodgeville possession to make it a three-point game at 38–35.

Senior Scott Uppena was mugged by a pair of Dodgers and drained both free throw attempts, and Ackerman beat the buzzer with a 10-footer jumper to send the Comets into the fourth quarter with a 42–35 lead.

Okey continued to dominated early in the fourth quarter, first with a spinning bank shot around Brown, then with a two-handed slam on a back door alley oop pass from Koopman.

He was fouled the next time down court and made both free throws to extend Cassville’s lead to 48–37 with just under six minutes remaining.

Flynn hit Dodgeville’s only three-pointer of the game (the Dodgers only attempted three shots from long distance in the game, and none before the fourth quarter) to make it an eight-point game.

The Dodgers got as close as six points at 53–47 on a three-point play by Evans and a layup by Bruce Harrison with 1:49 left, but Cassville made 6 of 8 free throw attempts in the final 1:37 to close out the win.

Flynn had the hot hand early on, making his first three shots and scoring six of his team-high 16 points in the opening quarter as Wilson’s Dodgers held a 14–12 lead heading into the second quarter.

Coach Wilson and the Dodgers frustrated Okey throughout the first half with constant double teams and changing defenses between a match-up zone and a 1–3–1, holding the senior relatively in check. Okey scored six points in the first quarter, but just four in the second and finished the half with 10 on just 3 of 10 shooting.

Scott Uppena picked up the slack and scored seven of his nine points in the second quarter to keep the Comets close.

A basket by Brown and a transition layup by Rock gave the Dodgers a 24–23 edge entering intermission.

Okey, who finished his college career at Iowa and went on to play professional basketball overseas and later in the CBA, finished the final game of the Boys Dream Tournament with 30 points, 16 rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists.

Scott Uppena contributed nine points, five rebounds and three assists, while Tim Ackerman finished with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and. Ackerman’s twin brother Todd, added five points, four boards and two steals. 

Koopman chipped in six points, a team-high five assists and five rebounds, while younger brother, 6’5” junior Chris Koopman, scored two points and grabbed  four rebounds off the bench for Coach Uppena’s Comets, who outscored their seven playoff opponents 73.1–44.3 with Okey being the centerpiece of the defense averaging 7 blocked shots per game.

Flynn, who went on to play at Ripon College, led the Dodgers with 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists to lead the Dodgers, who went a perfect 26–0 in 1964 under coach Wilson and held all nine playoff opponents under 50 points after outscoring their 17 regular season opponents on average 80.5–46.7. 

Brown, who was named the North Regional Most Outstanding Player, added 12 points and 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Brown was recruited to play at D1 Arizona State and ended up finishing his career at D3 Ripon College alongside Flynn.

Evans, who played D1 college baseball at Wisconsin and was later drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the 1966 MLB draft, finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Rock, who went on to play at St. Norbert, added seven points, six boards and four assists, while Harrison finished with five points and four rebounds. Sixth-man Dick Stephens added two points and two rebounds off the bench.

1995 Cassville 59, 1964 Dodgeville 53
(at Kohl Center, Madison)
Cassville.....12 11 19 17 — 59 
Dodgeville..14 10 11 18 — 53  
1995 Cassville (33–0) — Sam Okey 30, Scott Uppena 9, Tim Ackerman 7, John Koopman 6, Todd Ackerman 5, Chris Koopman 2. Totals — 20 16-22 59.
1964 Dodgeville (31–1) — Pat Flynn 16, Rick Brown 12, Carlos Evans 11, Bob Rock 7, Bruce Harrison 5, Dick Stephens 2. Totals — 20 12-15 53. 
3-point goals — C: 3 (Okey 2, John Koopman 1), D: 1 (Flynn 1). 

Final Four

by A.J. Gates

1995 Cassville 67, 1981 Cuba City 53
MADISON — As much as coach Jerry Petitgoue schemed and as hard as his Cubans tried, the 1981 Class B state champions from Cuba City couldn’t contain Sam Okey and his supporting cast of the 1995 D4 state champions from Cassville.

The McDonald’s All-American and Wisconsin Badger recruit concluded the Final Four matchup with 30 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots to lead his Comets into the championship game with a 67-53 final.

In an effort to contain Okey, coach Petitgoue rotated Bill Wagner, John Tranel and Greg Timmermann in a constant double team. The three eventually found themselves in foul trouble at different stages of the game, and appeared content to send Okey to the free throw line rather than let him get to the rim.

At the line, Okey knocked down 15 of 18 attempts, while also sinking three 3-pointers and putting down a pair of backboard shaking dunks.

Okey didn’t do it all by himself, though, as Tim Ackerman chipped in 14 points  and four rebounds to go along with nine points from brother Todd Ackerman, seven from John Koopman, who also dished out six assists, and six from Scott Uppena, who also had six assists and five rebounds.

After holding a 29–22 lead at the half, coach Dennis Uppena’s Comets outscored the Cubans 17–13 in the third quarter, taking a 46–35 lead into the fourth.

Wagner and Timmerman both fouled out of the game, Wagner leaving with just over six minutes to play in the final quarter, and Timmerman making his exit in the closing seconds. Tranel also found himself in foul trouble early in the game, and with three fouls midway through the second quarter, was forced to sit for the remainder of the first half. 

Tranel led the Cubans (28–2) with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Timmerman chipped in 12 points and six boards. Wagner was limited to 10 points, nearly seven below his season average, as the 6’3 forward found life difficult in the paint with Okey patrolling the baseline.

With an 11-point lead to start the fourth quarter, Cassville became more patient on offense, forcing the Cubans out of their zone defense and into man-to-man matchups.

The Comets then took the ball to the basket, and eventually got to the free throw line, where they made 12 of 15 attempts, Okey knocking down 7 of 8, Uppena 3 of 3, Tim Ackerman 1 of 2 and Koopman 1 of 2.

The closest Cuba City got in the second half was at 31–27 with a 5–2 scoring run to start the third quarter, led by Tranel, who sunk a 3-pointer and was then followed by a bucket from Shaffer.

The Comets then took back momentum to close out the third quarter with a 15–8 run of their own, ignited by their efforts on the defensive end.

With their fifth consecutive win in our Southwest Wisconsin Dream Team Tournament, coach Uppena’s 1995 Comets (32–0) advance to the championship game, where they will face off against the legendary 1964 single class state champions from Dodgeville (31–0).

1995 Cassville 67, 1981 Cuba City 53
(at Kohl Center, Madison)
Cassville.....14 15 17 21 —  67 
Dodgeville..10 12 13 18 —  53  
1995 Cassville (32–0) — Sam Okey 30, Tim Ackerman 14, Todd Ackerman 9, John Koopman 7, Scott Uppena 6, Travis Stappert 1. Totals — 19 22-28 67.
1981 Cuba City (28–2) — John Tranel 15, Greg Timmerman 12, Bill Wagner 10, Jeff Shaffer 9, Casey Beinborn 7. Totals — 21 7-11 53. 
3-point goals — C: 7 (Okey 3, Tim Ackerman 2, Todd Ackerman 1, Uppena 1), CC: 4 (Tranel 1, Schaffer 2, Timmerman 1). 

by A.J. Gates

1964 Dodgeville 60, 1991 Cuba City 54
MADISON — At 6’10”, Cuba City’s Greg Timmerman was more than a handful for the 1964 single class state champions from Dodgeville, but the balance of coach John “Weenie” Wilson’s Dodgers just couldn’t be matched by coach Jerry Petitgoue’s 1991 D3 state champions from Cuba City.

In the second of two Southwest Wisconsin Dream Tournament Final Four matchups, one of the biggest and best individual players in the fictional tournament was paired up against perhaps the most balanced team this part of the state has seen in decades.

Timmerman, an imposing 6’9” center for the Cubans, went on to become the state’s 1992 Mr. Basketball and was recruited by Wisconsin and later played at the University of North Dakota. He was a nightmare matchup for any team in southwest Wisconsin, and would have been the case for the 1964 Dodgers as well.

Coach John Wilson’s Dodgers (31–0) were an extremely tight-knit group who had four different players scoring in double figures during their state tournament run 56 years ago. They were a force to be reckoned with and tough for any team to match up with, no matter the era.

The matchup began with Cuba City (28–4) feeding their big man in the middle, Timmerman, who was being defended by Rick Brown from behind and then fronted by a sagging help defender.

Timmerman was able to keep the ball above the heads of his defenders and once he had position in the blocks, proved extremely tough to contend with.

Timmerman scored eight of his team’s 13 points in the opening quarter, while Dodgeville finished with 16, getting a team-high six from Bob Rock.

The two teams then played nearly even in the second quarter, as coach Wilson’s squad was able to take a 28–24 halftime lead into the locker room.

Timmerman, who scored 15 of his team-high 22 points in the first half, was limited to just two points in the third quarter, as the Dodgeville defense appeared determined to make someone else from coach Petitgoue’s team beat them.

In stepped Jamie Leifker, who scored seven of his 13 points in the third quarter alone, going 2-for-3 from long range and knocking down 1 of 2 free throws during  that stretch run.

Even still, the Dodgers were able to extend their lead to 46–38 after three quarters of play, as everyone got involved in the scoring for coach Wilson’s squad.

Once a team like Dodgeville has a lead on its opponent, it’s very difficult for their opponent to make up the difference, as was the case for coach Petitgoue and his Cubans.

Every time the Cubans made a run at the Dodgers, one of coach Wilson’s five seniors would step up and make a play to minimize any damage done.

The Dodgers were extremely effective from the charity stripe when they needed it most, knocking down 8 of 10 free throw attempts in the final four minutes to seal the victory.

During that stretch, Harrison and Rock combined to make 7 of 9 charity tosses, as coach Wilson put the ball in the hands of his two guards late in the contest.

Coach Petitgoue’s Cubans got as close as three points with just over four minutes to play, but a 5–2 scoring run by the Dodgers during the next three minutes gave the winners a six-point advantage late in the contest.

Leading the Dodgers with 17 points and five rebounds was Bob Rock, while Rick Brown was limited to 13 points on 5 of 13 shooting from the field, thanks in most part to the defense of Timmerman. Pat Flynn chipped in 12 points from his forward position, while Carlos Evans added 10 and Bruce Harrison eight.

Timmerman finished the contest with a game-high 22 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks, while Jamie Leifker added 13 points, Josh Kuepers eight, Tom Laufenberg six, Todd Kowalski three and Randy Palas two.

After surviving their Final Four matchup against one of the top individual players in this part of the state, the Dodgers now face their toughest match up against “THE” best player to come out of Southwest Wisconsin, in Sam Okey and the 1995 D4 state champions from Cassville (32-0).

1964 Dodgeville 60, 1991 Cuba City 54
(at Kohl Center, Madison)
Dodgeville...16 12 18 14 —  60 
Cuba City.....13 11 14 16 — 54  
1964 Dodgeville (31–0) — Bob Rock 17, Rick Brown 13, Pat Flynn 12, Carlos Evans 10, Bruce Harrison 8. Totals — 22 12-15 60.
1991 Cuba City (29–3) — Greg Timmerman 22, Jamie Leifker 13, Josh Kuepers 8, Tom Laufenberg 6, Todd Kowalski 3, Randy Palas 2. Totals — 19 12-16 54.
3-point goals — D: 4 (Rock 2, Harrison 2), CC: 4 (Leifker 2, Laufenberg 1, Kowalski 1).