PARDEEVILLE – Senior Duncan Fleiner has turned out to be quite the addition to Pardeeville’s boys basketball program.
The senior big man, who transferred into the district from Rio in the offseason, might have had his best game as a Bulldog on Friday night, scoring a game-high 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds to lead No. 2 seed Pardeeville to a 61-47 victory over No. 10 seed Westfield in a Division 4 regional semifinal game at Pardeeville High School.
With the victory, Pardeeville (20-3) advances to play No. 3 seed Markesan (16-7) in the regional final, which will tip off today at 7 p.m. at Pardeeville High School.
Fleiner’s two biggest buckets came early in the second half. After Westfield (10-13) took a 27-23 halftime lead and extended its advantage to 29-23 when senior Parker Peschel scored to open the second half, Fleiner scored on back-to-back possessions after pulling down offensive rebounds, cutting Westfield’s once six-point lead to two at 29-27 with 15 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
“He played like a man tonight. He definitely played well,” Pardeeville coach Chris Lindert said of Fleiner. “The last couple days, we practiced nothing but getting him the ball and he delivered tonight.”
Those second-chance baskets by the 6-foot-6 Fleiner were also the start of a 12-0 run that gave Pardeeville the lead for good.
After Fleiner’s quick four points, senior Nicholas Henke, who finished with 16 points, drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to give the Bulldogs a 30-29 lead. A layup by senior Logan Zuhlke, who had 15 points came next, and was followed by another 3-pointer from Henke to give Pardeeville a 35-29 lead and forced the Pioneers to take a timeout.
Westfield coach Lance Fritz said his team had a hard time slowing the Bulldogs in the second half.
“I think it was kind of an offense-defense situation. We got a little cold on offense and unfortunately I think that affected our defensive intensity a little bit,” Fritz said. “And (Pardeeville) just hit shots. They stepped in rhythm and knocked them down.”
Westfield sophomore Camden Stampfl, who had 11 points, finally ended the Pardeeville run with a pull-up jumper to make it 35-31 with 11:45 to go, but the Bulldogs kept coming.
After Westfield pulled to within three at 41-38 on three free throws from senior Nick Brakebush, Pardeeville went on an 11-2 run that for all purposes, buried the Pioneers. The second major Pardeeville run was led by four points from senior Jonathan Kamrath, who had 10 points, and was capped by two free throws from Zuhlke, to make it 52-40 with 2:03 to go.
With Pardeeville pulling away, Westfield had no choice but to foul down the stretch. That strategy only allowed the Bulldogs to add to their lead, as they made 14 of 17 free throws in the second half while the Pioneers went cold on the offensive end.
The first half went just as Westfield had hoped. The Pioneers used a zone defense that made it tough for Pardeeville to get the ball inside. The Pioneers took an early 8-2 lead when senior Doug Thompson converted a 3-point play after getting fouled on a jump shot. Westfield then went ahead 13-6 when Stampfl stole the ball and scored on a layup on the other end with 10:23 left in the half.
Pardeeville started to find some openings in the Westfield defense as the first half wore on. Fleiner scored five straight, which was followed by a Henke 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a brief 15-14 lead.
But Westfield had an answer of its own. A 3-pointer by Stampfl gave the Pioneers a 23-21 lead. Peschel then followed with two buckets, including a slam dunk while cutting to the basket to make it 27-21 with 1:10 left in the half.
“After 18 (minutes) I felt really good,” Fritz said. “We felt like we had a lot of momentum going, but I think a few missed shots (in the second half) kind of staggered our momentum a little bit.”
Lindert gave credit to senior Nicholas Cerro, who scored only one point, but made his biggest contribution on the defensive end, where his primary responsibility was to guard Brakebush. The Westfield leading scorer finished with 16 points, but that was two under his average, and none of them came easy.
“The Brakebush kid is a tough guard and Nick did a very good job just containing him and making everything tough,” Lindert said.
Tonight will be Pardeeville’s third time playing Markesan this season. The Bulldogs won both of the previous games, including a 65-54 victory on Jan. 25 in Markesan.
PARDEEVILLE 61, WESTFIELD 47
Westfield 27 20 — 47
Pardeeville 23 38 — 61
WESTFIELD — Thompson 2 1-1 6, Brakebush 5 4-6 16, Peschel 4 0-0 8, Drew 1 1-2 3, Roberts 1 0-0 3, Stampfl 5 0-1 11. Totals 18 6-10 47.
PARDEEVILLE — Kamrath 3 4-4 10, Pargman 1 0-0 2, Henke 5 3-4 16, Cerro 0 1-2 1, Fleiner 6 5-7 17, Zuhlke 5 4-4 15. Totals 20 17-21 61.
3-point goals — WFD 5 (Thompson 1, Brakebush 2, Roberts 1, Stampfl 1), PAR 4 (Henke 3, Zuhlke 1). Total fouls — PAR 9, WFD 19. Fouled out — Drew, Stampfl.