WIAA boys basketball: Roncalli secures trip to State with win over Little Chute

WIAA boys basketball: Roncalli secures trip to State with win over Little Chute

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WIAA boys basketball: Roncalli secures trip to State with win over Little Chute

By

MENASHA

“On to State.”

Those three words chanted by the Roncalli student section with 20.9 seconds remaining, made official shortly thereafter with a 65-50 win and a WIAA Division 3 Boys Basketball sectional championship for the Jets against Little Chute on Saturday.

The game started out in the Mustangs’ favor, as DJ DeValk scored all of Little Chute’s first quarter points and led 14-11 after one. DeValk finished with a game-high 36 but it was the performance at the end by Roncalli senior Josh Erickson which made the difference.

The Jets (25-1) rallied in the second quarter and went into halftime up 36-26 but the Mustangs hung around and trimmed the deficit to seven heading into the final frame. It was in that last quarter where Erickson put the game away from the free-throw line, going 7-of-9, to extinguish any hope the Mustangs (17-9) had of a comeback.

“We all had confidence Josh would make his free throws,” said Roncalli senior Tyler Heyduk. “You have to have confidence in your best player.”

Erickson scored 12 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth while teammate Nick Stelzer (13) was also in double figures.

“Our second quarter was where it started,” said Roncalli coach Joe Rux on their ability to contain DeValk and take control of the game. “We had thought on tape he struggled going to his left side but he didn’t struggle so much we were willing to give it to him originally.

“He was beating us so bad going right that we switched matchups, put (Heyduk) somewhere else and put (Erickson) on him and put athleticism on athleticism.”

Despite DeValk scoring nearly at will in the first half, the Jets came together as a team in the second quarter as four different players for Roncalli combined to his seven 3-pointers and ignite the offense. Andrew Ahola got several open looks from deep and hit three 3’s in the quarter for all nine of points for the game.

“What really happened was we hit some of those 3’s and loosened them up and got them in man,” Rux added on the effect his team’s 3-point barrage had on Little Chute.

Martin agreed the Jets 25-point second quarter was the turning point.

“I thought the second quarter was the difference in the game,” Martin added. “We missed some open 3-pointers and couldn’t get out on their shooters. “They got a couple in the last few minutes and it got away from us in the end and were fighting from behind the rest of the way.”

Even though DeValk was having a career game, the rest of Little Chute’s offense was held in check with only three other Mustangs getting on the scorer’s sheet and none with more than six points.

“You pick your poison when you play the Jets,” Martin said of his team’s reliance on DeValk.

DeValk said Little Chute was just hoping to start off strong in the second half to get back in the game.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” DeValk said “(Roncalli) had their run and it was our time to have ours but it didn’t come.”

Helping to deny that run was Heyduk, who after being switched off DeValk in the second quarter made it his personal mission to cause as much havoc defensively as he could. When the Mustangs started to force a few turnovers midway through the fourth, it was Heyduk who raced back on a loose ball to deny Little Chute with an easy bucket in transition.

As the game wore on and a trip to State that much closer to reality, Erickson and his teammates never lost focus.

“(Going to State) is what we’ve been working for since we were little kids, second grade,” Erickson said about the win being the culmination of a life-long goal. “A lot of hard work went into this and hopefully we can reach our goal and win a state championship.”

Heyduk later added making State is a dream come true for the Jets.

Roncalli will take that next step towards realizing its dream on Friday at 9:05 a.m. in Madison at the Kohl Center against Brown Deer (21-5).

Roncalli…11 25 8 21
— 65


Little Chute…14 12 11 13 — 50

Roncalli — Heyduk 2, Patek 4, Stelzer 13, Erickson 23, Theisen 5, Dudek 6, Ahola 9, Johnson 3. 3-pt: Stelzer 3, Erickson 2, Theisen, Dudek 2, Ahola 3, Johnson. FT: 15-19. Fouls: 10.

Little Chute — DeValk 36, A. Gloudemans 2, P. Gloudemans 6, C. Peerenboom 6. 3-pt: DeValk 7. FT: 1-2 Fouls: 15.

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