WIAA boys basketball: Half-courter provides exciting moment

WIAA boys basketball: Half-courter provides exciting moment

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WIAA boys basketball: Half-courter provides exciting moment

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MADISON

There wasn’t much debate which moment drew the biggest roar during Roncalli’s 48-45 loss to Brown Deer on Friday morning.

Falcons senior Jerry Luckett drained only his seventh 3-pointer of the season to take a 15-11 with 6 seconds left in the first quarter, but hadn’t even put his fingers down from signaling the make by the time the Jets were flying back up the court.

Roncalli got the ball in the hands of senior guard Nick Stelzer, who then sank a half-court heave as time expired to cut the deficit back to 1 point and swing the momentum back in Roncalli’s favor.

“I thought it was a big, big shot coming in because they made that shot when our student section was counting down, obviously,” Jets coach Joe Rux said. “So that was a little bit demoralizing to see that go in that situation, but Nate came down and hit it and it came right back to a 1-point game. That’s about as good as it can get in that scenario.”

Brown Deer hit two quick baskets to start the second quarter, but Roncalli went on a 12-3 run to take its largest lead of the game 26-22. Stelzer finished with a team-high 14 points and was 4-for-9 from 3-point distance.

“I thought it kind of evened out the momentum,” senior Josh Erickson said. “Obviously, the momentum from that shot was toward Brown Deer. When we saw Nick hit that shot, it kind of cancelled it out.”

Missing a golden opportunity

Roncalli has been known as a squad that takes advantages of miscues by its opposition.

On Friday morning, the Jets’ defense hounded Brown Deer during a critical stretch in the fourth quarter, forcing six consecutive turnovers.

The stretch started following a jumper by Roncalli’s Josh Erickson at 5:33. Teammate Jared Patek stole the inbounds pass and sparked the Roncalli defensive streak. But Shane Johnson’s tip-in was the only basket Roncalli scored during that stretch, which gave the Jets a 45-44 lead at 3:12. Roncalli held that slim margin until Lewrenzo’s Byers left-handed runner gave Brown Deer back the lead with 37 seconds left in regulation.

Brown Deer got a pair of free throws from reserve Craig Schimenz with 10 seconds remaining to go up 48-45 and Roncalli’s best chance of tying the game was blocked by Brown Deer’s Zack Baun with three seconds left.

“I thought we rushed to be honest,” Roncalli coach Joe Rux said. “We had situations where we didn’t need to play as fast as we tried to. We got good looks, but it was a matter of not converting them and I think we got … we were at the rim for most of them, which is a pretty good situation against their team.

“We didn’t finish those plays. If there’s anything in that stretch that we would do over it would be to slow down a little bit.”

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