Last Friday's WIAA Div. 2 Regional Semifinal between No. 9 seed Reedsburg and No. 1 Monona Grove went about as expected.
The Beavers came into the contest knowing they would have an exceptional opponent to deal with, as the Silver Eagles boasted a season record of 21-1. Despite a relatively consistent offense, Reedsburg was simply no match for Monona Grove as the Silver Eagles won 95-61 to put an end to the Beavers’ season. Reedsburg coach Josh Rupnow said Monona Grove’s offense was strong in all facets.
“They’re great. They’re highly ranked in the state, and have one loss on the season. You try to make them beat you from the outside and they came out and beat (us) from the outside. You have to switch gears, switch your game plan up a little bit and we did that, and they started beating us from the inside.”
Sophomore Will Fuhrmann started the game with a 3-pointer to give Reedsburg its only lead of the night to start the game. The Silver Eagles took over at 10-7 with Caden Nelson hitting a couple of his own from beyond the arc, which was when the Beavers started to turn over the ball. Five straight turnovers led to a 16-4 run for Monona Grove, a momentum switch Rupnow was hoping wouldn’t happen.
“Game plan was to take care of the ball and get good shots. We knew if we didn’t, then they would score in transition,” Rupnow said. “(So) those are 10 points probably in the first half of the first half that put us down early. We were able to come back against Portage on Tuesday but (Monona Grove) was just too powerful for us to come back from today.”
Nelson hit two more 3-pointers in the first half, finishing the game with six overall and 28 points. Monona Grove’s Sam Hepp hit a couple as well early on. Reedsburg finally started to work its way out of the funk with a couple of baskets from Will and Ben Fuhrmann while Carter Daniels hit a 3-pointer, but the Silver Eagles started taking advantage of six-foot-seven senior Jake Schroeckenthaler, who easily grabbed lofted-up passes and finished on the inside. Schroeckenthaler was a force throughout the contest, leading all scorers with 31 points.
“Size is hard to guard if you’re not as big, and that’s why we keyed on trying to make them beat us from the outside, and take away the inside,” Rupnow said. “That’s a credit to them, that’s how they beat us, just draining shots from the outside.”
Reedsburg senior Tyson Tully struggled early on but started to drive toward the rim for a couple of buckets late in the first half while Ben Fuhrmann knocked down a 3-pointer but the Beavers trailed 50-31 at halftime.
Monona Grove continued to hold onto a 20 point lead for the first several minutes of the second half. Reedsburg started to work its way toward the rim and was able to get to the line on several occasions, including three straight trips from Tully who went 4-for-6 from the line.
“We’re an attacking team, and in the first half we maybe weren’t. We were settling for outside shots. Kind of in the Portage game on Tuesday once we started attacking we were scoring and scoring so we just kind of went back to that offensively,” Rupnow said of the second half. “And again, for (being) so much undersized, we were able to finish around the rim and get shots that we wanted. I’m just proud of my guys for that; that’s a great defensive team that we were able to score on.”
A drive and finish from Daniels and a three-point play from Tully cut the Beavers’ deficit to 16, but Nelson started to score from all around the floor. Ben Fuhrmann hit a couple of 3-pointers down the stretch, but Monona Grove extended its lead to 89-58 with just under five minutes left and cruised to the win.
“I was proud of how our guys fought, the whole game, the whole season. We never gave up regardless of the score or what’s happening,” Rupnow said.
Reedsburg ends its season 12-12 overall.
“You look at the wins and losses, that’s not telling how good this team is. (We) just left it all on the floor effort-wise,” Rupnow said. “Every practice, and every game, I’m just so proud of these guys.”
MONONA GROVE 95, REEDSBURG 61
Reedsburg 31 30 — 61
Monona Grove 50 45 — 95
REEDSBURG — Tully 6 6-9 18, Fuhrmann 6 0-0 15, Halvensleben 0 2-2 2, Kohlmeyer 0 1-2 1, Fuhrmann 3 5-7 12, Daniels 2 2-4 7, Molitor 1 0-0 2, Tully 2 0-3 4. Totals 20 16-29 61.
MONONA GROVE — Ogden 2 0-0 4, Nelson 10 2-2 28, Hepp 5 0-0 12, Robinson 2 0-0 5, Thome 1 0-0 2, Ellis 0 2-5 2, Schroeckenthaler 15 1-2 31, Huston 1 2-2 4, Antonson 1 0-0 2, Nelson 2 0-0 5. Totals 39 7-11 95.
3-point goals — R 5 (Fuhrmann 3, Fuhrmann 1, Daniels 1), MG 10 (Nelson 6, Hepp 2, Robinson 1, Nelson 1). Total fouls — MG 22, R 13.