Xavier Hawks returning to state basketball

Xavier Hawks returning to state basketball

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Xavier Hawks returning to state basketball

KAUKAUNA – In its first two games along the WIAA tournament road to Madison, the Xavier boys’ basketball team lit up the scoreboard, twice scoring more than 100 points.

In its two sectional games, the Hawks relied on defense, holding Little Chute to 26 points and in Saturday’s Division 3 sectional championship game, holding Valders to 34 percent shooting in a 63-57 win that sends undefeated Xavier to the state tournament in Madison for the third consecutive year.

“It was a lot of hard work and work in the offseason to get back here,” Hawks guard Hunter Plamann said. “We had a lot of team chemistry throughout the year.”

No doubt the chemistry helped in the Hawks’ defensive effort. Valders (21-5) made 20-of-58 field goal attempts and was just 10-of-34 in the first half, when Xavier built a 35-24 lead.

Xavier (26-0) also shut down Valders’ 6-foot-5 senior Luke Goedeke, who averaged over 20 points per game. Goedeke got himself in foul trouble less than six minutes into the game and finished with six points.

“We watched the big guy (Goedeke) on film and he was incredibly impressive,” Xavier coach Matt Klarner said. “We knew we were going to have our work cut out. The goal was to help on him and make him work for his touches and work for his inside points. The guys did it as well as could possibly be expected.”

Goedeke found the going tough inside, finishing with just six field goal attempts.

Little things also made a big difference for Xavier.

In the second half, Plamann and Sam Ferris used their familiarity with each other to score three baskets on inbound plays under their own basket to help keep Xavier’s lead in double digits.

“It’s just a read that Hunter and Sam make between them,” Klarner said. “Sam is there and he’s going to catch it when Hunter throws it. We have a play called on the other side. Usually, we run the play. Today we caught them staring at the ball.

“Three easy baskets on a stage like this is a huge difference.”

How did those baskets come so easy?

“They just left me wide open,” Ferris said. “Two of them I think they were confused about playing man or zone and on the third Hunter just found me.”

Plamann and Ferris provided the bulk of the Xavier offense, combining for 44 points.

“It was more about like what Valders was giving us,” Ferris aid. “Going in we were trying to spread the wealth, but we were just going to take what they were giving us.”

Now it’s off to Madison for a showdown with unbeaten Ripon in the semifinals in an attempt to complete the quest that escaped the Hawks last season in a title game loss to Waupun.

“This team was determined that nothing was going to stand in its way,” Klarner said. “If you’ve been following us the past few weeks, they played like it. They were just on a mission. They were not going to be denied. I thought Valders played well today. We played better and got the W.”

Valders…

…24

33

— 57

Xavier…

…35

28

— 63

Valders: Tuma 14, Beimborn 13, Sundsmo 24, Goedeke 6. Totals 20 8-10 57. Three-pointers: Sundsmo 7, Beimborn 2. Fouls: 19.

Xavier: Egan 3, Plamann 23, Ferris 21, Christensen 6, DeYoung 5, Otto 3, Schlicht 2. Totals 24 11-17 63. Three-pointers: Egan, Plamann 2, Otto. Fouls: 14.

Jim Oskola: 920-993-7182 or joskola@postcrescent.com

Sam Ferris, left, of Xavier reaches for the ball held by Fletcher Dallas of Valders during a WIAA Division 3 sectional championship game Saturday night in Kaukauna.

Sam Ferris, left, of Xavier reaches for the ball held by Fletcher Dallas of Valders during a WIAA Division 3 sectional championship game Saturday night in Kaukauna.

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