The Oshkosh West Wildcats played good defense on Thursday night against the Kimberly Papermakers.
The couldn’t do one thing, however. They couldn’t grab a rebound.
The Papermakers dominated the offensive glass against the Wildcats, propelling them to a 54-48 win in the regular season finale at Steven L. Randall court.
“We had our chances in this game,” Oshkosh West coach Jason Fahrney said. “I thought our defense was good but we couldn’t get a defensive rebound. That was the difference.”
The epitomy of the night came at the end of the third quarter. Kimberly got the ball with around two-and-a-half minutes to go in the quarter, down 36-34.
The Papermakers were able to hold on to the ball for the rest of the period, despite taking shot after shot, thanks to grabbing loose balls that the Wildcats just couldn’t get control of.
That sequence ended with an offensive putback by Tucker Paschen as the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 36 heading to the final period, giving Kimberly all of the momentum.
“It’s tough when you play good defense for an extended period of time,” Fahrney said. “When you give up an offensive rebound and they end up scoring, that can be deflating. That happened to us on a number of occasions.”
There were still eight minutes to play, however, and the next quarter went back an forth for awhile as West’s Andrew Boeder hit a pull-up jumper about midway through the period to cut a slim Papermakers lead to just 44-43.
The backbreaker came the next possession, as Kimberly swung the ball around the Oshkosh West zone and found Austin Weyenberg in the corner for the Papermakers only 3-pointer of the game to put them up 47-43.
The Wildcats couldn’t find the bottom of the net on the next three possessions and were forced to foul and Kimberly made 8-of-9 at the line to seal the win.
“You can’t put yourself in a position where you have to chase Kimberly,” Fahrney said. “They have good ballhandlers and they have quickness. You can’t put yourself in that position at the end of the game where you have to chase them and press them.”
That offense that couldn’t find a bucket late was impressive for most of the game and especially in the second quarter when West scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field.
“I thought we exectued our offense well,” Fahrney said. “We shot a decent percentage. I don’t have any complaints about our effort at the offensive end.”
Blake Derickson led the Wildcats with 12 points, while Ryan Sorensen added 11 and Andrew Boeder scored nine to head a balanced attack for West in the loss.
The loss comes right as the WIAA Tournament starts, with West taking on Wisconsin Rapids on Tuesday in the first round.
But Fahrney knows that it’s a clean slate for his ball club.
“Everybody is 0-0,” he said. “This is a new season. The great thing about high school basketball is that everybody gets a do-over come tournament time and our kids will be ready come Tuesday night.”
Notes: Kimberly had three players in double figures…They were led by David Klink, who scored a game-high 18 points.
Game ball: Sorensen. He hit some big 3s and gave the Wildcats some much need points from the outside.
Numbers game: 2, the number of free throws attempted by Oshkosh West. They went 0-for-2 at the line and were outscored 9-0 at the charity stripe on the night.
Kimberly…16 13 7 18 — 54
Oshkosh West…10 20 6 12 — 48
Kimberly: Ebben 11, Nienhaus 8, Paschen 12, Klink 18, Weyenberg 5. 3-pointers: 1 (Weyenberg). FTs: 9-12. Total fouls: 10.
Oshkosh West: Rodgers 2, Stanek 7, Boeder 9, Sorensen 11, Kollmann 4, Guenther 3, Derickson 12. 3-pointers: 5 (Sorensen 3, Boeder, Guenther). FTs: 0-2. Total fouls: 13.