With the game tied in overtime and the clock winding down, Oshkosh North had the ball in Nate Neveau’s hands and chose not to call a timeout to set up the final play.
Instead they had a play already set up, and Blake Marquardt finished it in last-second fashion to lead the Spartans to another nail-biting victory.
Neveau dribbled to the left wing and fed the ball to Seth Taylor in the corner, who tip-passed the ball to Marquardt at the free throw line. Marquardt calmly sank the shot with six seconds left to lift the Spartans to the 46-44 victory over visiting Kimberly in a Fox Valley Association boys basketball game Friday night.
“We just had to get something going,” Marquardt said. “Time winding down and they let us have the last shot and I got a good look and took it right away.”
Kimberly had a last-gasp chance to win the game in overtime on a 3-pointer just past half-court, but the shot came up short as the buzzer sounded and the Spartans survived.
Neveau led the Spartans with 14 points and Taylor added 13 for Oshkosh North (18-3, 15-2 FVA). Neveau also scored his 1,000 point Friday night, joining teammate Cooper Radtke who also surpassed 1,000 points earlier in the season.
“It definitely feels a lot better now that we won. It’s something special,” Neveau said. “I think it’s kind of extra cool since Cooper already did too. Two people on one team is pretty special.”
Radtke played with an injured ankle and did not start, but played significant minutes down the stretch and finished with eight points.
“Knowing Cooper had an injury, he dug it out and played well with it. We just stuck in it and came out with the ‘W’,” Marquardt said.
Tied in the fourth quarter, Kimberly ran down the final 90 seconds of regulation to get the last shot but were unable to convert. Once in overtime, the Papermakers again had the ball with 90 seconds left in a tie game, but instead took a shot with 45 seconds left that was off the mark and rebounded by Taylor to set up the final play.
“I kind of thought they would try (running down the clock), but they didn’t,” head coach Frank Schade said. “They have a good ball club. They have good length, they shoot the ball well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the 1-seed in their region. It’s a good team.”
The Spartans waited until the 15-second mark to start their last possession without calling a timeout.
“Our philosophy is to just play it out, we didn’t want to let them set up a defense,” Neveau said. “I was able to get it to Seth who got it to Blake and he made the shot.”
Kimberly’s Ben Boots hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Papermakers a 23-21 lead at the break, but North responded after halftime 15-7 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 36-30.
Neveau was a big part of Oshkosh North’s third quarter surge, scoring eight of the team’s first 14 points of the quarter.
“We had to remind him that he’s the guy that runs the show and we need him to use his abilities. I thought he did a really good job, especially in the beginning of that third quarter,” Schade said.
The Spartans never trailed after that, but Kimberly tied the game on four separate occasions in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Boots finished with a team-high 11 points and Austin Weyenberg added 10 for Kimberly (13-8, 9-8 FVA).
Friday night was the seventh game decided by four points or less for the Spartans in FVA competition. In those seven, North has won six of them.
“The competition is so good. I wasn’t real pleased the way we were running our offense tonight, but part of it is the other team,” Schade said. “If we’re going to make it close then this is what it is going to come down to. If teams are not going to shoot the ball, even when we were up six, they were still passing it and passing it (on offense), but if you pressure there then you open yourself up for easy baskets. So we played it tight and stayed where we were.”
Kimberly…12 10 12 5 4–44
Osh. North…15 6 17 2 6–46
Kimberly: Weyenberg 10, Boots 11, Paschen 8, Vanderheyden 4, Johnson 4, Jansen 7. 3-pointers: 6 (Boots 3, Weyenberg 2, Paschen). FT: 4-4. Fouls: 11.
Osh. North: Neveau 14, Taylor 13, Marquardt 6, Madut 2, Bauer 3, Radtke 8. 3-pointers: 5 (Taylor 2, Neveau 2, Bauer). FT: 5-6. Fouls: 12.