CUBA CITY — Cuba City has some unfinished business left over from last season. The top-ranked Cubans took a big step towards finishing what they have strived for over the past two seasons by defeating SWAL rival Mineral Point, 73-49, to capture a WIAA Division 4 regional boys’ basketball championship title at CCHS on Saturday, Feb. 20.
“With everything that has been going on this year– from our two Covid shutdowns to two major injuries to key players– I am extremely proud of the kids for coming through in adverse conditions to win the regional. I’m just really happy and proud of these kids,” said Cuba City head coach Jerry Petitgoue.
Four players reached double figures to spur on the Cubans’ offense, while the defense teamed up to limit the Pointers’ leading scorer, junior Joah Filardo, to just four points in the game.
“The key all year for our success I think has been our defense. We’re a tough group to handle. We force a lot of turnovers, and we get a lot of points in transition from those turnovers, which has been the secret to our success on offense. We were able to shut down (Mineral Point’s) top scorers and get some turnovers that allowed us to get ahead early,” Petitgoue pointed out.
Junior guard Carter Olson pumped in 13 of his game-high 25 points in the opening half to lead the top-seeded Cubans (20-2 overall) out to a 33-20 halftime lead. Olson also tallied four assists and three steals on the night.
The Cubans are normally golden from 3-point range but in the regional finale they struggled shooting the 3. After going 0-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first half, the hosts connected on two treys in the second half to finish 2-for-16 (13 percent) for the game.
However, with the 3s not falling, the Cubans made the necessary adjustments and found other ways to score, sinking 31 shots from inside the arc (31-for-53, 59 percent) to shoot down the #2-seeded Pointers (17-7) for the third time this season.
Senior guard Riley Richard contributed 14 points and six rebounds to the victory, while senior forward Jack Misky posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to go along with his five blocked shots and four assists.
Sophomore Max Lucey added 10 points for the Cubans, who claimed a regional title for the second straight season.
Mineral Point junior Dominik McVay also had a double-double with a team-high 11 points and 10 boards. Senior Liam Stumpf was the only other Pointer in double-digits with 10 points.
Cuba City received the #1-seed in their sectional grouping and will host #4-seeded and #7-ranked Randolph (22-3) in a sectional semifinal game on Thursday, Feb. 25, starting at 7 p.m. The Cubans defeated the Rockets, 76-53, in a non-conference game on Jan. 30. Randolph has won seven straight games since that loss.
“They are a good basketball team. You have to get yourself mentally prepared for a different game than the first time. You don’t want t take anything for granted at this level. You just have to go out and take care of business,” said Petitgoue.
Thursday’s winner moves on to face the winner of the other semifinal between #2-seeded and #3-ranked The Prairie School (21-3) and #3-seeded and Fennimore (16-5) at the home of the highest remaining seed on Saturday at a time to be announced.
Coach Jerry Petitgoue’s crew advanced to Saturday’s regional final contest by burying the #4-seeded Parkview Vikings (10-12) by a score of 119-59 in a D4 regional semifinal game at CCHS on Friday, Feb. 19.
The Vikings topped the century mark with a 103-70 win over Iowa-Grant in Tuesday’s playoff opener, but they fell on the other side of a scoring avalanche on Friday night as the Cubans went off for a season-high 119 points– which may also be a school record because Petitgoue can’t remember a Cuban team scoring that much in a game in his 50 years as their coach.
The Cubans got heat up early with defense forcing a bunch of turnover, which in turn fired up the transition game on offense and they were off to the race.
The Cubans jumped ahead 42-15 midway through the first half and held a 68-29 advantage at the intermission. The points kept coming fast and furious in the second half as they added another 51 to cruise to a 60-point victory.
Olson went 13-of-19 from the field with two 3-pointers and was 4-of-5 from the free throw stripe to finish the game with a career-high 32 points. He had a team-high eight assists and four steals as well.
Misky was 10-of-11 from the field en route to 21 points, while Richard tallied 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals and junior Mason Reese chipped in with a career-high 14 points.
Junior Blake Bussan came off the bench to register a double-double with a career-high 14 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Reece Rosenkranz and junior Drew Robson each sank two triples to add six points apiece for the Cubans.
Tyler Oswald led three Vikings in double figures with 20 points. Avery Crane followed with 13 and Connor Simonson netted 11 for Parkview.