With a trip to Madison on the line and the bitter memories of one year ago still in their minds, the Cuba City boys basketball team took things into their own hands Saturday in Baraboo.
With an 85-44 victory over Luther, the Cubans secured another goal with the sectional final win and a trip to the WIAA Division 4 boys basketball semi-finals Thursday (tonight).
With the first quarter under their belts and a 10-point lead, the Cubans wanted to make a statement on just how good this year's team is. The Cubans outscored Luther 45-15 in the next two quarters and never looked back with a 66-25 third quarter advantage.
Cuba City head Coach, Jerry Petitgoue said he knew Luther would try to make Cuba City play their style of basketball. "I knew they wanted to get the ball down the sidelines quick and get into a fast break game," Petitgoue said. "We were able to take that away from them which didn't allow them many chances."
Petitgoue applauded his team for their play. "I thought our guys were really focused and ready to play," Petitgoue said. "I challenged Zach Adams before the game to hit the boards. He has been struggling somewhat prior to this game and I gave him a challenge and he succeeded." Adams came away with a huge game leading the Cubans with 25 points on 11-14 shooting while also pulling down 12 boards including seven on offense.
"I knew that Cory (Vaassen) was going to do his thing, but the foul trouble with Trent (Denlinger) and Nate (Murray) was unexpected," Petitgoue said. "We had some great play from Einar Frimodt off the bench along with the rest of the reserve players."
Vaassen added 20 while Brandon Slaats and Murray each had seven points.
The Cubans shot 62 percent from the two-point range on 29-47 shooting and went 3-9 (33 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. From the charity stripe, the Cubans were 58 percent on 18-31 shooting. Onalaska Luther shot a meager 29 percent from two-point range and 22 percent from three-point range for a total of 25 percent. The Cubans 1-3-1 defense proved hazardous to Luther creating 16 steals.
In the sectional semi-final game, the Cubans came away with a 56-46 victory over Cambridge last Thursday night at Monroe.
The Cubans led by two after the first quarter then broke the game open outscoring Cambridge 17-6 in the second quarter to take a 31-18 halftime lead. Cambridge tried to make some small comebacks in the final two quarters, however the Cubans suffocating defense kept them out of the game.
Vaassen paced the Cubans with 24 points while Denlinger added 11 and Murray had seven. The Cubans are now 26-0 and will play tonight (Thursday) at 6:35 p.m. at the Kohl Center against Oshkosh Lourdes in the WIAA Division 4 state semi-final game.
Petitgoue said to expect a solid game from Lourdes as they are known for their tough man-to-man defense. "They play a little like the Badgers and will attempt to slow down the offense and look for the three," Petitgoue said. "Their whole game is predicated on defense and controlling the ball. It will be a tough match up and we are hoping our size will give us the advantage."