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MADISON — It’s said that patience is a virtue — and on Thursday afternoon in the WIAA Division 3 boys basketball state semifinals, that virtue spelled victory for Waupun.

Eventually, the Warriors were able to deliver the dagger.

Denmark stayed within striking distance throughout the first half and for much of the second, but Waupun was never rattled and made up for a lackluster shooting performance with smart decisions and sound defense, winning 60-43 at the Kohl Center to advance to Saturday’s championship game vs. Greendale Martin Luther.

“We’re all seniors with a junior that helps out big time, so we’re not freshmen, we’re not sophomores anymore — we don’t have that excuse that we’re not used to big games,” Waupun star player Marcus Domask said of the composure it took to prevail. “This is our last run and we know how to handle situations — and we know that if we stick together and keep moving the ball, and trust our offense and defense, that we’re going to come out on top — so we just stuck to what we always do.”

“We always talk about maturity and staying within the game and that no one player has to do too much,” added Waupun coach Dan Domask, Marcus’s father. “We have enough weapons that eventually we’ll get our offense moving.”

Which was exactly what happened.

Waupun (26-1) used a 9-2 first-half closing run — capped off by Domask’s buzzer-beating 35-footer from the motion W at halfcourt — to take a 32-24 advantage into the locker room and then closed the game on a 13-4 run — the dagger — after Denmark had gotten within eight at 47-39 on a 3-pointer by Brennen Miller with 6 minutes, 18 seconds remaining.

“We gutted it out,” said Dan Domask, whose Warriors were only 46 percent (23-of-50) from the floor — well below their season average of 56.4 percent — but nullified that deficiency by holding Denmark almost 22 points below their scoring average.

The Warriors did jump out to an 8-3 lead — with one of the baskets a two-hand dunk by Domask cutting to the hoop on the right baseline — but the Vikings (22-5) answered right back with a 5-0 run to tie the game.

Later after an 8-2 run for the Warriors gave them a 20-14 lead with 5:11 to go in the half, the Vikings answered back again and got within 23-22 on a bucket in the paint by 6-foot-8 senior Patrick Suemnick.

That’s when Waupun went on the 9-2 run to finish out the half, though, and within seven — on two separate occasions, the last being when Zane Short scored inside to make it 40-33 with 9:18 to play — was as close as Denmark could get the rest of the way.

Ultimately, the half-court shot by Domask proved to be a shot through the Vikings’ heart after they had played so well in limiting the 6-foot-6 NCAA Division I Northern Kentucky-bound senior to only six points prior to that.

“That kind of set the tone going into halftime,” Denmark coach Cody Stelmach said. “Waupun’s a heck of a team and they’ve got weapons all across the board.

“It just wasn’t quite our night.”

Meantime, the Warriors — who got 21 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals from Domask to go along with 13 points and five rebounds from Trevor VandeZande and eight points and eight rebounds apiece from Reece Homan and Quintin Winterfeldt — were able to do enough to advance.

And a key reason they were able to was that they had a 40-25 advantage in rebounds — including an 11-5 advantage in offensive rebounds that produced an 8-0 edge in second-chance points. Winning so big on the boards paved the way for Waupun to outscore Denmark 42-24 in the paint.

“We tried to take away their strength,” Marcus Domask said of focusing on rebounding, something he knew would be pivotal considering Short (6-5) and Suemnick (6-8) are both beasts inside. “Guys understand their roles — Reece Homan, in particular. He’s going to get to the glass, that’s what he does and that’s what he knows he needs to do.”

The Warriors’ work in the paint got a little easier in the second half when Suemnick picked up his third (with 15:18 remaining) and fourth (11:53) fouls in the span of 3:25 while Denmark was still close enough that even a little burst would have made things interesting.

Domask had a hand in sending Suemnick into foul trouble, using an array of shot fakes to try and initiate contact because the Vikings second-leading scorer (19 points per game) was doing such a terrific job making life difficult on the Warriors’ top scorer (26.8 ppg).

“Marcus did a good job of keeping level-headed; his first half was probably as big a struggle as I’ve seen for him personally,” Dan said of his son.

While Marcus did eventually get going, Denmark, in large part, did not — shooting only 35.4 percent (17-of-48) from the floor.

Short did have 16 points and Suemnick had 11 points, but that was basically it on offense for the Vikings, who came in averaging 64.8 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting.

And that kind of defense coupled with a gritty performance on offense has the Warriors one win away from their second gold ball in four years.

Waupun, the second-ranked team in the D3 WisSports.net coaches poll from Dec. 11 on after opening at No. 1, will have to go through top-ranked Martin Luther — which beat the Warriors 79-64 on Dec. 18 in Greendale — in order to do it.

Dan Domask is ready.

“It was in my long term mind and planning,” he said, “so there’s some things that I think we’re just going to (do) better than we did then — and give us a better shot to compete with them and hopefully win the gold.”

WAUPUN 60, DENMARK 43

Waupun 32 28 — 60

Denmark 24 19 — 43

WAUPUN (60) — (fgm-fgm ftm-fta pts) Marcus Domask 8-20 4-6 21, Trevor VandeZande 5-9 3-4 13, Quintin Winterfeldt 3-9 2-2 8, Conner Kamphuis 1-1 0-0 3, Gabe Keach 1-4 3-4 5, Jaden Collien 1-1 0-0 2, Reece Homan 4-6 0-1 60. Totals: 23-50 12-17.

DENMARK (43) — (fgm-fga ftm-fta pts) Seth Alexander 0-1 2-2 2, Brennen Miller 1-3 0-0 3, Zane Short 7-23 2-3 16, Brady Jens 1-3 0-0 2, Zachary Gezella 2-6 0-0 6, Patrick Suemnick 5-10 0-2 11, Jack Satori 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 17-48 4-7 43.

3-pointers: Waup 2-11 (Domask 1-4, VandeZande 0-2, Winterfeldt 0-1, Kamphuis 1-1, Keach 0-3), Den 5-16 (Alexander 0-1, Miller 1-1, Short 0-3, Jens 0-1, Gezella 2-6, Suemnick 1-2, Satori 1-2). Rebounds (off-def-total): Waup 11-29-40 (leader: Domask 13), Den 5-20-25 (leader: Short 8). Assists: Waup 9 (Domask 5, Keach 2, Homan 2), Den 10 (Suemnick 3, Short 2, Satori 2, Jens 2, Miller 1). Turnovers: Waup 10, Den 10. Steals: Waup 6 (Domask 3, Homan 2, Collien 1), Den 5 (Suemnick 2, Alexander 1, Drake Locklear 1, Short 1). Blocks: Waup 1 (VandeZande 1), Den 4 (Suemnick 3, Gezella 1). Total fouls: Waup 11, Den 14. Fouled out: None.

WAUPUN 60, DENMARK 43</&hspag3>

Waupun 32 28 — 60

Denmark 24 19 — 43

WAUPUN (60) — (fgm-fgm ftm-fta pts) Marcus Domask 8-20 4-6 21, Trevor VandeZande 5-9 3-4 13, Quintin Winterfeldt 3-9 2-2 8, Conner Kamphuis 1-1 0-0 3, Gabe Keach 1-4 3-4 5, Jaden Collien 1-1 0-0 2, Reece Homan 4-6 0-1 60. Totals: 23-50 12-17.

DENMARK (43) — (fgm-fga ftm-fta pts) Seth Alexander 0-1 2-2 2, Brennen Miller 1-3 0-0 3, Zane Short 7-23 2-3 16, Brady Jens 1-3 0-0 2, Zachary Gezella 2-6 0-0 6, Patrick Suemnick 5-10 0-2 11, Jack Satori 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 17-48 4-7 43.

3-pointers: Waup 2-11 (Domask 1-4, VandeZande 0-2, Winterfeldt 0-1, Kamphuis 1-1, Keach 0-3), Den 5-16 (Alexander 0-1, Miller 1-1, Short 0-3, Jens 0-1, Gezella 2-6, Suemnick 1-2, Satori 1-2). Rebounds (off-def-total): Waup 11-29-40 (leader: Domask 13), Den 5-20-25 (leader: Short 8). Assists: Waup 9 (Domask 5, Keach 2, Homan 2), Den 10 (Suemnick 3, Short 2, Satori 2, Jens 2, Miller 1). Turnovers: Waup 10, Den 10. Steals: Waup 6 (Domask 3, Homan 2, Collien 1), Den 5 (Suemnick 2, Alexander 1, Drake Locklear 1, Short 1). Blocks: Waup 1 (VandeZande 1), Den 4 (Suemnick 3, Gezella 1). Total fouls: Waup 11, Den 14. Fouled out: None.

Follow Dan on Twitter @Danny_Larson_8 or contact him at 920-356-6753.

Assistant Regional Sports Editor

Capital Newspapers Assistant Regional Sports Editor