BENTON – Shullsburg couldn’t keep up with the high scoring ways of the opposition as they were outscored in every quarter en route to a 0-2 finish at the 25th annual Mike Alexander Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament.
Southwestern’s Aaron Kaiser poured in a game-high 29 points to lead his Wildcats over the Miners, 67-44, in a semifinal game at Benton High School on Tuesday, Dec. 27; while New Glarus buried 10 3-point baskets to bomb the Miners, 64-33, in the consolation game back at BHS on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
The losses drop Shullsburg to 2-6 overall on the season.
The Wildcats (6-2) got out quick in the opener, racing out to an 18-11 advantage by the close of the first quarter.
Southwestern’s lead swelled to 30-20 by the intermission, and then the ‘Cats erased any chances for a comeback by blasting off on a 21-10 run in the third quarter to thrust themselves towards a 23-point victory.
Senior Jacob Scott paced Shullsburg with 18 points and three rebounds, while junior Pierce Russell added six points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Junior Kyle Hoppman chipped in with eight points, and sophomore John Meyer contributed five rebounds and two assists for the Miners.
Josh Smith and Aaron Tranel scored 10 points apiece for the Wildcats, who edged the Miners by five points just three weeks earlier in a game at Shullsburg.
In Wednesday’s consolation game, the Glarner Knights grabbed an early 8-2 lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by Chris Pickett and the aptly-named Trae VandeBerg, and they never looked back.
The Knights (4-5) were still ahead by six at 18-12 following an old-fashioned three-point play by Shullsburg’s Kyle Hoppman with 5:57 remaining in the first half, but the game soon got out of hand as Riley Miller pumped in four treys in a row to spark a 16-0 run by New Glarus to end the half.
The Knights added the first two baskets of the third quarter to open up a 38-12 advantage and never let up as they rolled to a 31-point win.
Russell led the way with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Miners, while Scott and Hoppman followed with seven points apiece and Collin Hauser added six.
VandeBerg led New Glarus with 15 points, while Miller tallied 12 and Pickett and Bryce Anderson netted nine apiece on the night.
In the championship game on Wednesday evening, the host Zephyrs (7-1, ranked #4 in Division 5) rallied from a 54-40 deficit over the final 3:46 of play to skin the Wildcats, 58-56, for their second straight tournament title under Coach Jim Blaine, who became the school’s all-time winningest coach the previous night with a 63-43 win over New Glarus.
Senior Mitchell Brant knocked down the game-winning layup with five seconds to play to cap a wild 18-2 run to end the game by the Zephyrs, who claimed their eighth all-time title at the tournament.
Blaine has rolled up 195 career victories in 13 seasons at Benton to surpass WBCA Hall of Famer Jim Nedelcoff, who had 193 wins at the school from 1955 through 1972.
Shullsburg hosts Benton on Thursday, Jan. 5, and heads to Potosi on Tuesday, Jan. 10, in key upcoming Six Rivers West games.
Shullsburg…. 7 5 8 13 - 33
New Glarus… 13 21 11 19 - 64
Leading Scorers: Pierce Russell 12, Jacob Scott 7, Kyle Hoppman 7, Collin Hauser 6, Reid Schwartz 1.
Shullsburg……. 11 9 10 14 - 44
Southwestern… 18 12 21 16 - 67
Leading Scorers: Jacob Scott 18, Kyle Hoppman 8, Pierce Russell 6, Nate Carrier 5, Collin Hauser 3, Reid Schwartz 2, Jacob Meyer 2.