Kimberly cuts through Menomonee Falls' pressure

Kimberly cuts through Menomonee Falls' pressure

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Kimberly cuts through Menomonee Falls' pressure

MANITOWOC – The Kimberly Papermakers looked like a tired bunch a few weeks ago, but they’re the ones wearing out opponents now.

Kimberly continued its postseason resurgence and moved one win away from the WIAA Division 1 state boys’ basketball tournament with a convincing 84-64 victory Thursday over Menomonee Falls in a sectional semifinal game.

The win was the third in a row for Kimberly (21-4), which will play Arrowhead in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Sheboygan North High School. Arrowhead (20-5) advanced with an 85-75 victory over Bay Port.

Kimberly suffered three of its four losses during a four-game stretch from Feb. 14 to 23, including one-point losses to Oshkosh North and Neenah in its final two regular-season games, but a week off before regionals seems to have cleared their minds and put life back in the legs.

“We were mentally tired,” Kimberly coach Lucky Wurtz said. “We got out of the (FVA title) hunt. That happens to kids. You don’t want it to happen. We don’t want it to happen, but it happened. But it’s all forgotten now. It has nothing to do with now.

“We would have loved to beat Oshkosh North, absolutely. And we would have loved to beat Neenah. But we didn’t. But when you fix it, that’s the greatness about kids. They fixed it and they’ve got it sucked up for one more run here. We’re fine. That’s the good news, because it could have lingered and it didn’t linger.”

Kimberly, which outscored Menomonee Falls 39-24 in the second half to pull away, got a balanced scoring effort with four players in double figures.

Alec Rosner and Levi Nienhaus-Borchert both finished with 21 points, Danny Vanden Boom added 15 and Will Chevalier scored 14. Nienhaus-Borchert, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, added 16 rebounds for a double-double.

Menomonee Falls (17-8), coached by Steve Showalter, tried to pressure the Papermakers and keep an uptempo pace the entire game, but Rosner sliced through the defense all night to get layups for him or feed teammates cutting to the basket.

“We prepared against the pressure all week,” Rosner said. “To beat that you’ve got to attack it. We always say embrace the pressure and embracing the pressure to me means going by them, or dishing it off to Levi, who had a great game. Just attacking the basket really helped us out tonight.”

The Papermakers, who have outscored their three postseason opponents by an average of 30.3 points a game, are tough to beat when they share the ball and get the scoring balance like they had against the Indians.

“Those two are always steady,” Rosner said of Chevalier and Vanden Boom. “They’re always going to get their points and contribute in some way. Levi, again, a big double-double. He’s a great athlete. He gets a lot of boards. Teammates do a great job of setting me up. All five of us and anyone who comes off the bench just do a good job of doing their role and knowing their role.”

While the Papermakers may be refreshed, the coaching staff might be a little tired as Wurtz expected a late night studying film on Arrowhead getting ready for today’s practice.

“You get to enjoy it just tonight and then go back and watch video until 4 in the morning and get ready,” Wurtz said. “That’s all it is, a 4-in-the-morning shift tonight.”

Menomonee Falls…

…40

24

— 64

Kimberly…

…45

39

— 84

Menomonee Falls: Williams 4, Wilson 16, Gruber 4, Champion 14, Malone 3, Schuster 16, Walker 2, Allen 2, Henningsen 3. Totals 24 6-9 64. Three-pointers: Wilson 4, Champion 4, Malone, Schuster. Fouls: 19.

Kimberly: Chevalier 14, Rosner 21, Vanden Boom 15, DeValk 6, Thies 7, Nienhaus-Borchert 21. Totals 31 18-22 84. Three-pointers: Chevalier 2, Rosner, Vanden Boom. Fouls: 14.

Mike Sherry: 920-996-7244 or msherry@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @MikeSherry14

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