The roller coaster ride unfortunately came to an end for the Oostburg boys’ basketball team on Thursday night.
Tied at 31 with just 35 seconds left, Ripon held for the last shot and made a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to give it a 34-31 lead. Following a timeout, Oostburg replied with a 3-pointer of its own from Tyler Chaloupka as time expired to send the game into overtime.
But that’s where the fun stopped.
Ripon dominated overtime, holding the Flying Dutchman to one basket as the Tigers advanced to their first WIAA Division 3 sectional final game since 2005 in a 45-38 win at Beaver Dam High School.
“I thought we just needed a few more shots to fall (in overtime),” Oostburg coach Kevin Bruggink said. “I thought we played really hard and competed, we just couldn’t knock down the shots in overtime and they knocked down their free throws.”
James Vander Galien hit five out of six free throws in overtime while Luke Loewe hit two — after scoring eight clutch points in the fourth quarter.
“Oostburg is one heck of a team, they came and played a really good defensive effort against us tonight and we had to make plays down the stretch,” Ripon head coach Dean Vander Plas said. “We had faith in getting stops, our depth helped us because we had a little more legs at the end of the game.”
Ripon will face top-seeded Brown Deer Saturday in a sectional final game at Whitefish Bay.
The Tigers had a hard time getting anything going offensively all night, due to Oostburg’s ability to slow down the pace. Ripon trailed 9-7 after the first and 19-17 at the half.
“They (Oostburg) did a really nice job of slowing our pace down, we had to then battle on the other end to get stops in order to stay in it,” coach Vander Plas said. “They had a great game plan and they didn’t give us anything easy in transition.”
Loewe had a tough time for most of the first half, until midway in the third when he started to turn things on. The freshman scored back-to-back baskets to give the Tigers a 24-23 lead. He took that into the fourth where he scored all of the Tigers’ points before going into overtime.
After Vander Galien hit the first four free throws in overtime to go up 38-34, it was the Tigers’ defense that helped them hang on to the win.
Riley Haas added nine points for Ripon while Vander Gailen finished with seven off the bench. Oostburg was led by Lukas Meerdink who had 12.
“This has been a fantastic group of seniors to work with, they are very close and you always want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the season and I think we were,” Bruggink said. “We played some good basketball for the last 10 games, so that’s a credit to them that they kept getting better. We just couldnt quite get it done tonight, but I am certainly proud of them.”
8 11 — 45
Oostburg — Meerdink 12, Chaloupka 7, Gabrielse 6, Telschow 5, Hurlbutt 4, Justin Molter 4. 3-pt: Meerdink 3, Chaloupka 2, Telschow 1. FT: 4-10. Fouls: 21.
Ripon — Loewe 16, Haas 9, Vander Galien 7, S. Vander Plas 6, Fenner 4, Moldenhauer 2, B. Vander Plas 1. 3-pt: Loewe 2, S. Vander Plas 2. FT: 15-24. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: S. Vander Plas.