By Scott Williams
March 3, 2020
WAUSAU – Basketball coaches don’t care how you win at this time of the year. It’s just about being able to survive and advance at tournament time.
While Wausau East coach Troy Pieper would likely agree. He probably wishes the stress levels had been a little lower Tuesday night.
Pieper and the Lumberjacks had to endure some anxious moments of their Division 2 regional opener, but ultimately found a way to keep their season alive.
Trailing by as much as 12 points in the second half, East put together a gutsy comeback to pull out a 75-66 victory over Waupaca behind a game-high 35 points from Gabe Krueger to earn a spot in the regional semifinals.
The Lumberjacks (10-13) secured a date with third-seeded Mosinee, which received a bye into the regional semifinal, on Friday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Helping out with the rally were Ben Cayley, who finished with 13 points, while Zidane Charles chipped in with 10 – all coming in the second half.
Just as important as the points were the defensive efforts turned in by Charles and Jack Ohrmundt, who added seven rebounds.
The East duo was instrumental in shutting down the Comets and enabling the Lumberjacks to overcome the deficit.
Division 5 regional
Newman Catholic 62, Port Edwards 50
PORT EDWARDS – On paper, it was an upset.
Upon closer inspection, however, the tough schedule the 11th-seeded Cardinals played in the Marawood Conference may have better prepared them for WIAA postseason play.
Charlie McCarthy and Mason Prey scored 17 points apiece and the Cardinals stymied the sixth-seeded Blackhawks attack to pick up a win in the regional opener.
Next up for Newman Catholic (5-18) is a regional semifinal matchup at Rib Lake, a 70-48 winner over Assumption, at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Cardinals controlled the backboards against Port Edwards. McCarthy hauled down a team-high 15 rebounds and Ben Bates grabbed 12 rebounds in a key aspect of the victory.
Loyal 66, WVL 58
LOYAL– The Wolves’ season comes to an end with a 16-6 record as Loyal advances to the regional semifinal.
Evan Graff paced the Wolves with 18 points and seven rebounds. Ethan Mehlberg added 15 points and Christian Johnson scored 13.
Kole Bogdonovich led Loyal with 23 points, while Trevyn Wilke chipped in 13.
#8 Loyal will take on #1 Almond-Bancroft on March 6.
Division 1 regional
Appleton West 61, Wausau West 47
APPLETON – The path to a sectional berth was never going to be easy for the Warriors with eighth-ranked Kimberly waiting in the regional semifinals.
Unfortunately, West won’t have a chance to find out if it could pull off an monumental upset that makes March Madness so special.
Amillion Buggs paced three players in double figures with 13 points, but the Terrors mad points tough to come by in grabbing the victory over West in the regional opener.
Max Helke contributed 12 points and Mitchell Zahurones helped out with 10 as the trio accounted for 35 of the team’s 47 points.
The Warriors conclude the season at 3-19.
The Terrors’ were led by Caeden Myers who tallied a game-high 24 points.