By Michael Kommer
For Central Wisconsin Sports.net
Photo by Kylie Bridenhangen
March 10, 2018
Marshfield– All good things must come to an end.
The Stevens Point Area Senior High boys basketball team has been the epitome of dominance as they’ve cruised to three straight state titles.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, it all came to an end Saturday evening.
SPASH fell behind early, and after an early run to begin the second half by Oshkosh North the Panthers never recovered as they fell 57-42 in a WIAA Division 1 Sectional Final game at the Boson Company Field House at Marshfield High School.
With the win, Oshkosh North advanced to a WIAA State Tournament and will play Friday at either 6:35 p.m. Or approximately 8:15 p.m. Depending on the seed they receive. The Spartans also were able to avenge a 76-61 defeat to the Panthers in the same game last season.
“I’m very proud of our guys and how they competed,” SPASH coach Scott Anderson said. “That’s an outstanding team that we played against and they were just better than us tonight.”
The Panthers got things going in the right direction to begin the game when they held a 5-4 advantage in a slow-paced contest, but after that it was all North.
The Spartans picked up the speed of the game offensively and applied a smothering defense that the Panthers struggled to solve.
North held a 27-17 lead at halftime, and started the second half on a 14-0 run by a run of three slam dunks- two by leading scorer, Tyrese Haliburton, who finished with 16 points, and another by Quincy Anderson.
“It’s the sweetest thing in the world,” said Quincy Anderson who finished with 12 points. “Last year, I remember crying and crying for days thinking about what could have been, and think about getting back here and get better, and encouraging our team that we can’t be satisfied. It definitely hasn’t been an easy road.”
Helping the Spartans on defense was their ability to force Point into many one-look possessions and forcing several Panther turnovers. They were also able to lead keep SPASH senior Drew Blair quiet holding him to just 9 points- well below his average of 32.5 points per game. The Panthers were led by Andrew Erdman and Drew Cullen with 10 points a piece.
“We thought today was probably our best defensive showing, so we are continuing to get better,” North coach Brad Weber said. “Regional champs, sectional champs, and conference champs, that’s all great stuff to take in after the season, but right now, we’re just trying to be a better product of ourselves each day.”
Spartans 57 Panthers 42
Stevens Point 17 25 – 42
Oshkosh North 27 30 – 57
STEVENS POINT (42): Andrew Erdman 10, Drew Cullen 10, Drew Blair 9, Brennan Mueller 5, Max Hofmeister 3, Evan Vollendorf 3, Darren Zwicker 2.
OSHKOSH NORTH(57): Tyrese Haliburton 16, Matt Hickey 13, Quincy Anderson 12, Gout Deng 7, Dylan Krumrei 5, Wesley Schiek 2, Matt Berger 2.
3-Pointers: Stevens Point 8 (Cullen 3, Erdman 3, Vollendorf, Hofmeister.) Oshkosh North 3 (Haliburton 2, Anderson.)
Records: Oshkosh North 25-1, Stevens Point 20-6.