MADISON – Hunter Plamann’s inner drive wasn’t about to be extinguished by a devastating loss at this time last year at the Kohl Center.
The 6-foot-1 Xavier junior point guard used the Hawks’ last-second loss to Waupun last season as fuel to his fire in getting the Hawks back in position to claim the WIAA Division 3 championship Saturday.
Plamann was focused and determined in the Hawks’ 73-47 victory over Prescott, scoring 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including several layups into the teeth of the defense.
It was the first WIAA title for Xavier, which also won WISAA titles in 1963 and 1995.
Plamann admitted that last year’s loss to the Warriors provided the impetus for this season’s success. It was his last-second shot off a missed free throw that rimmed out in heartbreaking fashion, lifting Waupun 59-58 to the title.
Soon after, Plamann grabbed a pen and wrote a few declarations for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
“I wrote down two main goals for myself and one was 28-0 and the other was being a state champion,” Plamann said. “So it’s cool being able to accomplish those goals.
“I think as a whole, the team and me, we were on a mission. We were at state and we tried to finish the deal. I had a little extra drive to myself and I just wanted to prove a point that we’re the best team in Division 3 and wanted to win at state.”
Plamann also had seven assists and six rebounds and was sensational in helping run the Xavier offense in transition during the tournament. He also scored 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and had seven rebounds in the Hawks’ 81-74 victory over top-ranked Ripon in Thursday’s state semifinal.
Plamann’s relentlessness was tangible on the court. On Saturday, he attacked the rim with aplomb, using a variety of moves to finish around the basket, even with Prescott’s 7-foot-1 center Owen Hamilton patrolling the paint.
“A few times the ball slipped out of my hands, but after that I just started finishing and getting little floaters over (Hamilton) and they started to go in,” Plamann said. “It felt good to have the ball go in the hoop.”
Both Hamilton and Prescott coach Nick Johnson came away impressed with the Hawks’ playmaker.
“He’s right up there,” Johnson said of Plamann. “He’s one heck of a player. The way he can get to the lane and the way he can break our defense and finish with his floaters, how good he is for his size. When you can attack a 7-footer and finish around Owen, you’re doing a lot of things right. Credit him. He’s got to be right up with the top point guards in the state. We just didn’t have an answer for him.”
Said Hamilton: “He probably had the best game against our defense that anyone has had this year. He finished really well. I mean, 29 points off 11-of-21 shooting. And with a lot of those at the rim going around two or three people, that’s something. You have to tip your hat to him. He played really well.”