One more win.
That’s all the Amherst boys’ basketball team needed to return to state for the first time since 1998.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, Oshkosh Lourdes has the game goal.
The Knights ended Amherst’s season with a 45-42 loss Saturday, March 10, in a Division 4 sectional semifinal in Antigo. The Falcons had advanced to the final after knocking off Stratford 53-38 two days earlier in Schofield.
Oshkosh Lourdes 45, Amherst 42
ANTIGO – Amherst, a No. 5 seed, made it to the final after wins over second-seeded Stratford, top-seeded Auburndale and No. 4 Wild Rose.
Another upset over Lourdes, another No. 1 seed, wasn’t in the cards, however.
The Falcons led 12-10 after one quarter, but trailed 25-20 at halftime and 31-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Amherst’s Joe Biadasz gave the Falcons a 32-30 lead with 6:10 to go in the game. It was the first of four lead changes in the quarter. Lourdes’ Robbie Kleman fouled Biadasz with 28 seconds to go and he hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 42-42, but Kleman hit three free throws in the final 18 seconds, including two with 4.1 seconds remaining. The Falcons had a chance at a game-tying shot, but Lourdes’ Mikey Hartenbach was able to get a hand on Willie Doll’s three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Doll and Steve Maves led Amherst with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Dylan Sommerfeld led Lourdes with 16.
Amherst 53, Stratford 38
SCHOFIELD – There was a time when things didn’t look very promising for the Falcons, as Stratford whittled their 11-point lead to five with a minute to play. Amherst had taken a 41-30 lead over the Tigers on a Maves basket with 2:50 remaining, but Stratford cut the lead to 43-38 on Derek Austin’s three-pointer with 1:00 to play.
However, Stratford never scored again.
The Falcons trailed 10-7 after one quarter and 21-18 at halftime, but outscored the Tigers 15-4 in the third quarter. Amherst used an 11-0 run to take a 33-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
Doll, who was held to a pair of free throws in the first half, scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter.
“We had some really good performances from everybody and what do you say about Willie?” coach Gregg Jensen said. “He’s the man and he has to keep on being the man.”
The Falcons outrebounded the Tigers 28-20 and committed only six turnovers. Amherst ended its season at 19-7.