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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Xavier, Prescott Earn Berths in Div. 3 Title Game

Xavier 81, Ripon 74

Prescott 74, Lake Mills 67

Xavier’s (27-0) marksmanship highlighted an 81-74 win over Ripon in the Division 3 semifinals of the State Basketball Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Kohl Center in Madison. 

The Hawks had no issues with the bigger stage, connecting on nearly 60 precent of its field goal attempts for the game, including 64 percent in the first half. Their 81 points falls four points shy of the Division 3 scoring record. In addition, the two teams combined for 155 points, which is five points off the record for most points by both teams.

Xavier took the lead for good with 8:30 remaining in the first half. They closed the period outscoring the Tigers 15-6 in the final four minutes to open a double-digit lead at the half at 45-33. The closest Ripon would get in the second half was four points. The Hawks fended off a Tigers’ late-game comeback by sinking 12-of-16 free throws in the final 3:21.

Xavier controlled the glass, outrebounding the Tigers 39-24 to compensate for 23 turnovers. Sam Ferris led the Hawks in scoring with 25 points. Hunter Plamann poured in 22 points, and Will Schlicht and Cal Christensen chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively. 

Eddie Muench led all scorers with 26 points for the Tigers. Bennett Vander Plas added 21 points to go with his game-high nine rebounds and six steals. Melvin Lee scored 15 points and chipped in with a team-high four assists.

Xavier enters the final Saturday undefeated in its quest to improve on last year’s runner-up finish. Ripon (26-1) suffers its first loss of the season to drop out of title contention in its fifth State appearance.

Prescott (24-3) advances to the Division 3 final Saturday with a 74-67 victory over Lake Mills in the semifinals of the State Basketball Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Kohl Center in Madison. 

The Cardinals overcame an eight-point deficit in the second half, outscoring the L-Catas 26-11 in the final minutes of the game. Prescott shot 66 percent in the half and converted 5-of-6 free throws in the final 30 seconds of the game to secure their lead and earn the victory.

The L-Cats’ largest lead of the first half was seven, leading 13-6 at the 14:33 mark. Prescott fought back with an 18-5 run once they got 7-foot-1 Owen Hamilton involved, who scored 14 of his game-high 33 points in the first half. The teams exchanged leads six times in the first period, and the Cardinals took a 28-27 lead into the locker room at the half.

Petey Brookshaw joined Hamilton in double figures with 14 points for the Cardinals. Hamilton also led all rebounders with 11 boards. Luke Murphy dished out 11 assists, one shy of the Division 3 State Tournament record. 

Alex Ranney led four L-Cats in double figures with 20 points. JT Toepfer scored 17 points; Ben Dunkelberger tossed in 14; and Brady Wagner added 10 points.
 
Prescott will play in the championship final for the first time in their two appearances, and Lake Mills (24-3) ends its season with its first-ever State appearance.

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