POTOSI – Potosi may have kept Shullsburg from winning the Six Rivers West title this season, but the Chieftains could not keep the #9-ranked Miners from claiming the regional title.
The third-seeded Miners knocked down 11 3-pointers in the game and connected on 14-of-21 free throws over the final four minutes of play to knock off the second-seeded Chieftains, 66-51, in a WIAA Division 5 regional final boys’ basketball game played at Potosi High School on Saturday, March 2.
“I’m so happy for these guys. They put in the time, they put in the work, and they deserve to have something to show for it,” said Shullsburg head coach Luke Tyson after guiding the Miners to their third regional title over the past five seasons and their first during his coaching tenure.
After knocking off Benton, 71-52, in a rubber match on Friday night to advance to Saturday’s regional finale, the Miners posted their second straight victory over Potosi on their home court to also win the season series against their SRW rivals. Shullsburg had split with both the Zephyrs and the Chieftains during the regular season.
“In this case, I think playing a back-to-back helped us out as we were able to continue our energy from the night before,” admitted Tyson.
The Miners (21-4 overall) hope the rubber matches continue to bounce in their favor as the move on to sectional play where they will face another familiar opponent in their semifinal match at Mineral Point on Thursday, March 7. Shullsburg will face off against fourth-seeded Southwestern for the third time this season. The Wildcats (14-10) won the season opener, 55-44, back on Nov. 20, and the Miners got their revenge over the ‘Cats with a 63-50 win in the championship game of Alexander Christmas Classic on Dec. 28.
Shullsburg will head into Thursday’s game riding a 10-game winning streak, while Southwestern is fresh off a 64-51 upset of top-seeded and #6-ranked Wauzeka-Steuben (22-2) last Saturday night.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday night with the winner moving on to face either #5-ranked Blair-Taylor (24-1) or #3-ranked Bangor (23-1) in the D5 sectional final game at La Crosse Logan High School on Saturday, March 9, also starting at 7 p.m.
At Potosi, last Saturday, the Miners used an early 10-0 scoring run to pull into the lead and they held that lead all the way to the intermission despite a persistent challenge from the Chieftains (19-5) headed by junior center Nick Edge, who scored 13 of his team-high 20 points in the opening half. Shullsburg went into the half sporting a slight 32-29 advantage.
“We shot the ball very well from behind the arc as a team with six guys making at least one 3-pointer. At halftime we made a couple defensive adjustments that slowed them down a little. We knew they were going to make some runs as they are a well coached and talented team, but we were able to keep our composure and handle ourselves well on the court,” stated Tyson.
The Chieftains tied the game at 34 on a 3 by Will Bierman just over two minutes into the second half, and briefly grabbed a 36-34 lead on a layup by Ben Udelhofen moments later. The Miners answered right back with a layup by sophomore Brandon Hoppman to deadlock the score at 36 all, then got back-to-back-to-back triples from seniors Jacob Berendes, Kyle Klotz and Alex Wand to shoot back into the lead to stay at 45-36 with 10:49 to play.
Potosi got back within three with 7:20 remaining following a basket by Ethan Grook, however senior Isaac Hoppman scored five straight points for the Miners to kick off a 16-2 run that pumped the lead up to 61-44 with just 1:04 left on the clock Wand and Berendes each went 2-for-2 at the foul line to cap the run, and Berendes added three more free throws in the final 27 seconds to help seal the victory.
Berendes finished with a game-high 21 points after sinking four of the Miners’ 11 treys, and he also did his part on the defensive end of the floor by holding Potosi’s leading scorer, Brady Curtis, without a point for the game.
B. Hoppman scored 14 points for the Miners, while I. Hoppman and Griffin Wiegel chipped in with eight points apiece and Wand and Klotz each netted six points in the victory.
Bierman scored 13 points and Udelhofen added 11 for the Chieftains.
Shullsburg opened the tournament with a 63-21 rout of the 14th-seeded Ithaca Bulldogs (5-17) in a quarterfinal contest at home on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and then the Miners dispatched the sixth-seeded Benton, 71-52, in a semifinal showdown at SHS on Friday, March 1.
Hosting the Bulldogs in their first game in over a week, the Miners started off a bit slow but heated up in a final half of the first half outscoring their guests 19-2 over the final eight minutes to build up a 34-10 lead by the break. Shullsburg topped the ‘Dawgs, 29-11, in the second half to pull away for a 42-point victory.
“I was glad that we were able to come out with some fire and intensity, especially after having a week off. It felt good to have a strong showing for the opening round to give us some momentum moving forward,” commented Coach Tyson.
Berendes poured in a game-high 19 points from the Miners. B. Hoppman followed with 12 points, while senior Joseph Turpin came off the bench for nine points and sophomore Chandler Kelly matched his career-high with six points.
The Miners remained hot on both ends of the court against the Zephyrs (16-8) on Friday night, jumping ahead 45-19 in the first half and cruising to a 19-point victory.
“We started the game shooting at a very high percentage and combined that with a solid defensive effort in the first half. With a big halftime lead we didn’t want to come out in the second half and be content. We knew that they had the weapons offensively to put some points on the board in the second half. Fortunately we were able to hold them off enough to secure a big win,” said Tyson.
B. Hoppman scored 13 of his career-high 16 points in the first half to lead the Shullsburg onslaught, while Wiegel and Wand chipped in with seven and six points, respectively, in the opening half.
Klotz tallied eight of his 10 points in the second half for the Miners, who had 12 different players score in the game with six finishing with six or more points. Berendes added nine points in the game.
Senior Brooks Tiedeman scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half in an attempt to rally the Zephyrs. Senior Wyatt Bastian finished with 11 points, while juniors Will Lawrence and Holden Murphy netted seven and six points, respectively, for Benton.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL FINAL
Shullsburg…… 32 34 – 66
Potosi………… 29 23 – 52
Shullsburg – Jacob Berendes 21, Alex Wand 6, Griffin Wiegel 8, Kyle Klotz 6, Oscar Ortiz 3, Brandon Hoppman 14, Isaac Hoppman 8. Totals – 20 15-24 66.
Potosi – Udelhoven 11, Bierman 13, Kruser 4, Groom 4, Edge 20. Totals – 19 7-7 52.
3-point goals– S 11 (Berendes 4, Wand 1, Klotz 2, Ortiz 1, B. Hoppman 1, I. Hoppman 2), P 7 (Udelhoven 1, Bierman 3, Edge 3). Total fouls– S 9, P 19. Fouled out– P: Curtis, Kruser.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Benton………. 19 33 – 52
Shullsburg….. 45 26 – 71
Benton – Will Lawrence 7, Nathan Mowry 5, Nick Jansen 3, Holden Murphy 6, Brooks Tiedeman 16, Dominic Cummins 4, Wyatt Bastian 11. Totals – 16 15-17 52.
Shullsburg – Jacob Berendes 9, Alex Wand 6, Nolan Strang 3, Joseph Turpin 7, Dylan Heim 2, Griffin Wiegel 7, Zach Wiegel 2, Oren Charles 2, Kyle Klotz 10, Oscar Ortiz 2, Brandon Hoppman 16, Isaac Hoppman 5. Totals – 26 13-17 71.
3-point goals– B 5 (Mowry 1, Jansen 1, Murphy 2, Bastian 1), S 6 (Strang 1, Turpin 1, G. Wiegel 1, B. Hoppman 2, I. Hoppman 1). Total fouls– B 13, S 16. Fouled out– none.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL QUARTERFINAL
Ithaca………… 10 11 – 21
Shullsburg….. 34 29 – 63
Ithaca – Hisel 3, DeAces 7, Ghastin 2, Kershner 2, Scallon 5, Mueller 2. Totals – 9 0-0 21.
Shullsburg – Jacob Berendes 19, Alex Wand 6, Nolan Strang 5, Joseph Turpin 9, Kyle Klotz 4, Chandler Kelly 6, Brandon Hoppman 12, Isaac Hoppman 2. Totals – 23 10-12 63.
3-point goals– I 3 (Hisel 1, DeAces 1, Scallon 1), S 7 (Berendes 5, Turpin 1, B. Hoppman 1). Total fouls– I 12, S 8. Fouled out– none.