Free throws and an effective 2-3 zone defense added up to a win for the Weyauwega-Fremont boys’ basketball team.
The Indians held Iola-Scandinavia to 20 points through three quarters Feb. 20 and went on to hand the Thunderbirds a 54-40 Central Wisconsin 8 Conference loss.
Stevens Point Pacelli also clinched the CWC-8 championship Feb. 18 with a 87-62 win over the Indians.
W-F 54, I-S 40
IOLA – The Indians took a 6-5 lead early in the game and never trailed the rest of the way. W-F led 11-7 after one quarter, 24-14 at halftime and 33-20 after three quarters.
W-F went to a 2-3 zone defense in the second quarter, which made a difference in the game, according to coach Andy Schroeder.
“We hardly played any 2-3 zone this whole year,” he said. “We just tinkered with it in case we needed to do it the playoffs. It worked pretty good today from the second quarter on. We worked on it in practice yesterday and the guys took to it.”
The Indians also hit 21 of 30 free-throw attempts, including 15 of 21 in the fourth quarter alone.
“The guys are hitting their free throws,” Schroeder said. “Free throws, boxing out and being careful with the ball are three things that we did well that we hadn’t been doing at the beginning of the year.”
Lincoln VanCuick, who went down with a knee injury early in the first meeting between the two teams, scored a game-high 17 points and his dunk gave the Indians a 50-40 lead late in the game.
Although W-F led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, the Thunderbirds opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run and Connor Lodewegen’s basket with 3:40 remaining capped a 7-2 run that cut W-F’s lead to 39-36.
That was as close as the T-Birds would get, however, as Dan Prillwitz, Dylan Pankow and Adam Krause combined to hit eight straight free throws to push the lead back to 11.
Besides VanCuick, Krause also finished in double figures for the Indians with 14 points, while Prillwitz added nine. John Prahl and Kristian Welch led the T-Birds with 12 each.
“Our big thing in the last couple weeks is we need to start peaking,” Schroeder said. “I tweaked the rotation a little bit and brought Dylan Pankow up to varsity, so he’s pretty much the sixth man. That was the No. 2 seed (for the state tournament) in our grouping of 13, so it’s encouraging.”
Pacelli 87, W-F 62
STEVENS POINT – The Cardinals won their first outright conference championship since 2002 as Pacelli’s Issac Elliot scored 35 points to pass 1,000 points in his career.
Pacelli led 17-13 after one quarter, but outscored the Indians 26-16 over the next eight minutes to take a 43-29 halftime lead. The Cardinals added to their lead by outscoring W-F 24-13 in the third quarter before both teams scored 20 in the fourth.
VanCuick led the Indians with 23 points, while Pankow chipped in with 12.
The Indians received a No. 8 seed in the Division 4 Appleton East Sectional and opened state tournament play by hosting No. 9 Gibraltar Feb. 25. The winner will play at top-seeded Brillion at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in a regional semifinal.
“Anything goes in the tournament,” Schroeder said after the win over I-S. “If we hit our free throws and do what we did today, we’re going to be fine.”