CUBA CITY – Cuba City’s first win of the 2016-17 season was also the 900th career victory for the Cubans’ legendary head coach Jerry Petitgoue.
Sophomore guard Blake Robson sank a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining to lift the Cubans over the visiting Pecatonica Vikings, 61-59, in a non-conference boys' basketball game played Monday night in the gym named after their Hall of Fame coach.
Petitgoue, who is already the winningest basketball coach in Wisconsin state history, picked up his 900th career victory with the decision. He now holds a 900-224 all-time record at the start of his 50th coaching season, the last 46 spent at Cuba City where he posted 838 of those victories after beginning his career at the now-defunct Gratiot High School.
“This is my 50th year as a varsity coach in Wisconsin. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d get here as a coach. I’ve been blessed with some great teams and a lot of good kids. Last night was a big moment for the Petitgoue family,” said Petitgoue.
The Cubans (1-0 overall) scored the final five points of the first half to take a 26-19 lead with them into the locker room at the intermission, but the Vikings (1-1) rallied by scoring the first nine points of the second half to pull ahead 28-26 on a basket by Kole Kent.
A Robson trey gave the Cubans’ the lead back with under 13 minutes remaining and the hosts would extend their lead to as many as 10 in the second half. However, the Vikings would not go down without a fight.
Senior Sean McVay hit one of two free throws to put the Cubans up 59-55 with 26 seconds remaining, but Pec answered back with a layup and a pair of free throws by senior A.J. Hendrickson to tie the score at 59 all with 15 seconds to play.
Robson’s dead-eye foul shots put Cuba City back into the lead with 10 seconds to go, and the Vikings last-second shot was off the mark sealing a memorable victory for the Cubans and Coach Petitgoue.
“I think wins are somewhat over-rated. If you stick around long enough, you can pile up a lot of wins,” replied a humble Petitgoue. “I’m happy we got it over in the first game. Now, the focus can go back on the kids where it belongs instead of their 76-year old coach.”
Robson sank four 3s on his way to a game-high 22 points to lead the Cubans, who shot 47 percent from the field (14-for-30) and 67 percent (6-for-9) from 3-point range in the game.
McVay posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while senior Nate Timmerman netted 10 points and sophomore Isaiah Oswald scored eight points for the hosts.
Colton Schraepfer scored 21 points to lead the Vikings, who shot 18-of-47 from 2-point range and 4-of-23 from 3-point range on the night. Hendrickson added 19 points and 14 boards, and Kyle Kent chipped in with 12 points for Pec.
The Cubans kicked off SWAL play at Darlington on Thursday, Dec. 1.