Sheboygan Norrth’s Evan Platz (25) grips the ball by Green Bay East’s Austin Short (23) Friday March 6, 2015 at North.
Early on, Green Bay East seemed to lament when someone for Sheboygan North other than Davis Larson scored against it in Friday’s WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal.
It was a trend the Red Devils would simply have to get used to until the final horn sounded.
Eleven different players scored, including five with at least five points apiece, as North kept its season going with a 70-53 victory.
North (17-6) plays at top-seeded Kimberly (20-3) Saturday night in a regional final. The Papermakers rolled Manitowoc 60-39 Friday, and knocked the Golden Raiders out of the postseason last year.
To get to the finals, North did a lot of things right on Friday. Balance was a big one.
“The balance of the bench was important,” said North coach Tom Desotell.
Larson averages 18.7 points per game for the Raiders; second-most is Nick Rudolph’s 9.9 per game. So East had good reason to devise a plan to slow Larson and make the rest of the team contribute.
The problem is, the rest of the team did exactly that.
Case in point: Larson had just two points during North’s game-changing 24-5 run that spanned parts of the second and third quarters.
Matt Gerber sparked North early with a pair of 3-pointers.
Larson literally did the rest of the scoring for the Raiders in the first quarter, with the other eight points as North led 14-13 after one.
The second quarter, however, is when the rest of the team got in the act. When that happened, North pulled away.
Zach Hasenstein scored eight points in the frame, including a pair of 3’s. Rudolph and Eli Belmore also drained 3’s.
North’s slim one-point climbed to 10 going into the break.
Gerber and Rudolph hit back-to-back 3’s to open the second half, and the rout was on.
“If our 3-point shooters spread the floor, we’re usually all right,” said Desotell.
Larson finished with 13 points and six rebounds, but Gerber and Hasenstein each added nine points, Rudolph had eight, Belmore seven, Eric Suscha had six points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Evan Platz also scored six.
It went on from there: Julius Jones came off the bench and drained five free throws, Ethan Cinealis and Sam Kaminski also scored, and Evan Mahn had North’s final four points.
East scored 86 points the last time these teams met, an 86-80 win in Green Bay on Feb. 6. This game was a different story.
“We limited them to one shot and got out on their shooters,” said Desotell.
While connected on 52 percent of its shots overall, including 8-of-17 on 3’s, East was only 42 percent from the field.
“East pushes the ball real well, we had to slow them down and make them work out of the halfcourt,” said Belmore.
Moving ahead to regional finals, Kimberly has lost only two games to in-state teams – both to Fox Valley Association champion Kaukauna. The Papermakers are 4-0 against Fox River Classic Conference competition.
“They’re big, strong and athletic, and we’ve got to match up,” said Desotell.
But North is certainly geared up for a rematch.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Belmore. “We’re not going to shy away.”
GREEN BAY EAST — Laye 6, Callovi 4, Flowers 17, Ransom 12, Steele 3, Carlton 3, Miller 3, Bowers 2. 3-pt: Flowers 3, Ransom 1, Steele 1, Miller 1. FT: 9-14. F: 22. Fouled out: Carlton.
SHEBOYGAN NORTH — Belmore 7, Gerber 9, Cinealis 2, Hasenstein 9, Rudolph 8, Platz 6, Kaminski 1, Jones 5, Larson 13, Suscha 6, Mahn 4. 3-pt: Belmore 1, Gerber 3, Hasenstein 2, Rudolph 2. FT: 16-23. F: 19.
G.B. East…13 9 4 27 — 53
Sh. North…14 18 16 22 — 70