NICOLET BOYS BASKETBALL
The turnaround reached a major milestone on Thursday, Feb. 23, when the "Cardiac Kids," aka the Knights, pulled out another overtime victory in their regular-season closer against Port Washington (60-55) and secured second place all by themselves in the final league standings.
"I just love these kids," said first-year coach Allan Hanson. "They do have complicated moments, and they do love to push me right to the edge, but I do love them.
"We set this goal at the beginning of the season to win the conference title. We did this with a team that was .500 the previous season, had only three guys with real experience returning and a new coach. That the kids got this far is a real testament to their work ethic and willingness to buy in."
With the win, the Knights improved to 9-5 in North Shore play as Cedarburg cruised to the league title with a 14-0 mark. Nicolet finished at 13-9 overall.
They earned the fourth seed in their half-bracket of the WIAA Division 2 Menasha sectional. They will host the winner of Grafton-Milwaukee Madison in a 7 p.m. regional semifinal Friday, March 3. If they win that game, they will likely visit state-ranked and sectional top seed Beaver Dam in a regional final on Saturday, March 4.
"We're excited to get a home game and some good (fan) support," said Hanson."We'll be ready to go."
Nicolet had to rally from a nine point halftime deficit to force a 49-all tie at the end of regulation with Port. The Knights had a try at a winning lay-up but the ball went in and out.
In the overtime, Isaiah Glidden got two big post baskets early as the Knights were able to establish control. Hanson then said the leadership of Dakari Williams and Jayden Hardy helped a great deal down the stretch. Glidden led the way with 15 points while Hardy had 10 and Williams eight. Nicolet helped itself with 15 of 20 free throws.
WHITEFISH BAY GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Blue Dukes saw their season come to a competitive end with a 43-35 WIAA Division 2 regional final loss to Tosa East on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Bay, which finished at 14-10 overall, had beaten Tosa West in a regional semifinal the night before to advance (see story at WhitefishBayNow.com for details).
The Blue Dukes had an 18-15 lead at the half on Tosa East, but then were outscored by the Red Raiders, 28-17 in the second half.
East had a huge advantage at the foul line, hitting 16 of 28 free throws as compared to just four of five for Bay. Mia Brower and Grace James had eight points each for Bay.
NICOLET GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Knights season came to a quiet close with a 56-32 WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal loss to host West Bend West on Feb. 21.
The loss ended the season for Nicolet at 2-21, while West advanced to a regional semifinal against Cedarburg.
Kai Penoske and Laura Keyser had eight points apiece for the Knights in the loss to West. Nicolet finished the season with only a handful of upperclassmen including Alexis Haupert, Keyser and Leah Schmirler under first-year coach Megan Lund.
BROWN DEER GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Falcons season came to a competitive close with a 62-43 WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal defeat at the hands of host Port Washington on Feb. 21.
The loss finished the season for Brown Deer at 4-18 while Port Washington went on to loss to top-ranked in state Beaver Dam in a regional semifinal on Feb. 24.
Port outscored Brown Deer 28-14 in the first half. The Falcons scored 29 in the second session, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.
Freshmen Mattie Schimenz (18 points) and Jonisia Nash (13) continued to show the promise they have all season in leading the Falcons. Sophomore Michaela Drake added 8.
The Falcons had four freshmen on the varsity and only two seniors, Brianna Key and Deasia Allen.
WHITEFISH BAY WRESTLING
Freshman 152-pounder Dajun Johnson (29-8) gained valuable experience for the future as he dropped his opening round match to Pulaski's Jake Gille (37-4) on a pin in 4:23 in the WIAA State Individual Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison on Feb. 23.
When Gille lost his next round match to Hudson's Jacob Anderson, Johnson lost out on any chance for a consolation wrestleback. Johnson was the largest freshman in the tournament (the next biggest was at 132) and was the second Bay freshman to qualify for state.
All-time Blue Duke great Starr Moss advanced to state as a frosh in 2002.
Coach Dale Loebel was encouraged.
"Dajun's future is super bright," he said. "He has a desire to be great. This weekend just proves that he is on the level of the best kids in he state. He will work on his deficiencies and get better. I'm glad he was able to watch his weight class and see that what we are doing (what he is doing) is putting him on the path to success.
"Barring injury, I don't think there's any question he puts himself on the podium. If he's got high goals for himself, then he should have his sights set on winning state titles."
SHOREWOOD BOYS BASKETBALL
Despite 30 points from guard DeAndre Anderson, the Greyhounds' regular season still came to a competitive end with a 61-50 defeat at the hands of Greendale on Feb. 23.
With the loss, Shorewood fell to 2-14 in Woodland Conference Eastern Division play and 5-17 overall.
They had won three of their previous four games.
Shorewood visited Milwaukee North in a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
If the Greyhounds won that game, they would advance to a a regional semifinal at sectional half-bracket third seed Wisconsin Lutheran on Friday, March 3.
Against Greendale, the Greyhounds held even at the break, 27-all, but the Panthers outscored them, 34-23, in the second session.
Anderson hit two 3-pointers and eight of nine free throws in his 30 point effort as Aaron Eimers added eight. Greendale hit 20 of 25 free throws as compared to nine of 14 for Shorewood.
WHITEFISH BAY BOYS BASKETBALL
The Blue Dukes' regular season came to a flat conclusion with a 59-50 loss to Grafton on Feb. 23.
The defeat was the seventh in a row and was coupled with a 66-60 nonconference loss to Marquette on Feb. 21.
Bay finished at 6-8 in North Shore play and 8-14 overall.
The Blue Dukes hosted league rival Milwaukee Lutheran ina WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal on Tuesday, Feb. 28 and if they win, they will visit sectional half-bracket top seed Milwaukee Washington on Friday, March 3.
In the loss to Grafton, Bay was outscored 23-15 in the first half and had a hard time recovering.
Demetrius Johnson did his best with 26 points for the Blue Dukes as Gunnar Stock had 9.
Bay stayed competitive with Marquette but again fell despite 20 points on five 3-pointers from Cade Garcia.
It was 34-24 at the break as Johnson added 18 and Harry Grams 8.