MENASHA There was no mistaking the pride in Valders head coach Trevor Schwoerer’s voice.
“It was perseverance by our kids,” Schwoerer said following the Vikings’ 66-58 loss to Xavier in a WIAA Division 3 sectional final on Saturday night at Menasha High School. “It’s a tough bunch of kids and that comes from our seniors with their never quit attitude.”
“Our kids have a lot to be proud of. This one hurts now but after a time, they’ll have a lot of good memories they can look back upon.”
Valders never held the lead Saturday night and after rattling off an 8-2 run to tie the game at 8 midway through the first quarter, Xavier was in front the entire night.
Not that it was easy for the Hawks.
“They had their runs,” Xavier coach Matt Klarner said. “If they would have taken us by a point or two, that would have swayed the momentum.”
Xavier’s Matt DeYoung goes for the loose ball against Valders’ Trenton Sundsmo during the WIAA Division 3 boys basketball sectional final playoff game at Menasha High School on Saturday. Sue Pischke/HTR Media. Photo taken on Saturday, March 14, 2015.
That’s where the Vikings’ perseverance showed.
“We definitely battled,” Schwoerer said.
Valders, which was seeking its first state tournament trip since 1984, had its best stretch in the third quarter.
Thomas Schwoerer’s basket was backed up by back-to-back 3-pointers from Paxton Korslin and Alex Schueler to slice the Hawks’ lead to 36-35.
“We got it to one there in the third quarter and I felt maybe if we got over that hump it would put some pressure on them because they had lead the entire game,” Trevor Schwoerer said.
But that didn’t happen.
The two teams exchanged 3-pointers, 10 seconds apart before a Sam Burkart drive pushed the Hawks’ lead to 41-38.
Braden Persinger’s basket narrowed the gap back to one, but Xavier scored five points in the final 1:49 of the third quarter to take a 46-40 lead.
Korslin took over to start the fourth quarter, scoring the Vikings’ first 11 points to keep the Vikings close, with his second 3-pointer cutting the deficit to 58-51 with 1:14 left.
“He’s one of those seniors who is a really tough kid,” Trevor Schwoerer said. “He didn’t want his season to end so he did everything in his will to extend it a little bit longer.”
Xavier only recorded three field goals in the final period but went 14-of-17 from the free-throw line in the quarter and 8-of-10 in the final 1:08 to preserve the win as Valders never got closer than six in the final period.
Korslin led Valders with 18 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, while Thomas Schwoerer added 17. Schueler finished with 13 points for the Vikings, who hit nine 3-pointers but finished just 1-of-5 from the free-throw line.
The Hawks (23-3) were led by Burkart and Kyle Van Hammond with 14 points each, while Zach Simons added 12 and Matt Kinderman finished with 11.
Xavier…19 9 18 20 — 66
Valders…12 11 17 18 — 58
XAVIER — Simons 12, Burkart 14, Kinderman 11, Van Hammond 14, DeYoung 9, Plamann 3, Severin 3. 3-pt: Simons 2, Van Hammond 2, Plamann, Severin; FT: 16-21; F: 3
VALDERS — Korslin 18, Schueler 13, Schwoerer 17, Persinger 6, Sundsmo 2, Tuma 2. 3-pt: Korslin 3, Schueler 3, Schwoerer 3; FT: 1-5; F: 19