Basketball

Xavier one win away from trip to state

SUAMICO – Xavier is a score in bunches basketball team loaded with firepower.

The Hawks, though, are more than just a one-dimensional first-one-to-80 wins scoring machine.

They play defense with energy, urgency and basket-limiting efficiency.

The unbeaten Hawks shut down what had been a smooth-flowing Little Chute offense Thursday night, limiting the Mustangs to a mere eight field goals in a 68-26 sectional semifinal rout at Bay Port High School.

LIVESTREAM REPLAY:Xavier battles Little Chute

Xavier (25-0) will face Valders (21-4) on Saturday at Kaukauna High School in a 7 p.m. Division 3 sectional final. The Hawks, a Division 3 state runner-up the past two seasons, will be looking to make their third straight trip to the Kohl Center.

“They look like they’re on a mission to get back to Madison after losing to Waupun last year on the last-second shot,” said Little Chute coach Mickey Martin. “You throw in that added incentive along them being a really good team and you’ve got your hands full. That’s what we had tonight.”

Playing an aggressive man-to-man defense, Xavier limited the Mustangs to just two first-half field goals and raced to a commanding 33-9 halftime lead. What was especially impressive about the Hawks’ fast start was that Xavier standout guard Hunter Plamann picked up his third foul just 3:30 into the game and sat out most of the first half.

Plamann’s absence never hampered the Hawks, who were able to force turnovers and run the open floor. Sophomore Henry Egan came off the bench to score 12 of his 14 points and junior post player Nate DeYoung added eight of his 14 points to drive Xavier to the 24-point halftime lead.

“Just a phenomenal defensive effort from our guys,” said Xavier coach Matt Klarner. “They played really hard and really smart and I thought they adjusted pretty well to the way the game was being called, which was pretty tight.

“You take care of business on the defensive end and you don’t have a lot of pressure on the offensive end, and obviously we know we can score the ball, too.”

Martin said the Hawks, rated second behind Ripon in the Associated Press and wissports.net Division 3 state polls, were the best defensive team his Mustangs have faced all season and the best team period.

“As good as they are offensively, it all starts on the defensive end for them,” Martin said. “Tonight was a good example. We didn’t get good looks. When we did, we couldn’t knock them down.

“They get a lot of ink because they score a lot of points, but it’s their defense that starts their fast breaks and opens the floor up for them in my opinion.”

Plamann finished with 13 points and Will Schlicht added nine for an explosive Hawks team that is averaging 84.4 points per game. Plamann, a junior, is fourth on Xavier’s all-time boys’ scoring list with 1,109 points.

“We were able to get into our transition game right away and got off to a great start,” DeYoung said. “We hit our shots and played really good defense. Defensively, I thought we just dominated on their screens and shut down their shooters.”

Little Chute, a second seed, finished a strong season at 18-7.

“You’ve got to put the ball in the basket, it’s the name of the game,” said Martin. “We weren’t able to do that early and it snowballed. But I’m really proud of my guys. For us to get to 18-7, it was really a fine year in my opinion. Tonight was not indicative of the type of team we had by any means.”

Little Chute…

…9

17

— 26

Xavier…

…33

35

— 68

Little Chute: Diedrick 5, Plate 6, Hietpas 4, Reynebeau 3, C. Mara 2, Stevens 3, Knudsen 3. Totals 8 8-15 26. Three-pointers: Reynebeau. Knudsen. Fouls: 17.

Xavier: Egan 14, D. Ferris 5, Plamann 13, S. Ferris 7, Christensen 6, DeYoung 14, Schlicht 9. Totals 26 12-19 68. Three-pointers: Christensen, S. Ferris, Plamann, DeYoung. Fouls: 17.

Tim Froberg: 920-993-7183 or tfroberg@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @twfroberg

Basketball

Basketball