Falcons shock Chargers, seize regional crown

by Steve Ottman

PLYMOUTH – Sheboygan Falls junior guard Aaron Krueger scored 17 points and drained five 3-point shots, as the No. 2 seeded Falcons upset top-seeded Kettle Moraine Lutheran 57-42 in a the WIAA Division 3 regional final boys basketball playoff game at Plymouth Saturday, March 5.

Krueger came off the bench with three minutes left in the second quarter and hit three consecutive 3- pointers, which gave Falls a lead it did not relinquish the rest of the way.

The Falcons (14-10 overall) will play Watertown Lutheran Prep (12-10 overall) in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal playoff game at West Bend Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m.

The Chargers finished their season at 19-5 overall.

“I was just trying to arc the ball high enough to get it over the rim,” explained Krueger. “It’s great to contribute to this team anyway I can.”

Krueger’s outstanding individual effort complimented great overall team play from the Falcons.

Not only did the Falcons forget a stagnant offensive effort in a close win from the night before, they came out with the type of intensity a team needs in the post season.

As a team, the Falcons shot 9-of-13 (69 percent) from 3-point range.

“Threes and free throws can be a funny thing,” said Falcons coach Eric Spielman. “We made some big shots tonight. Aaron carried us and the team’s confidence grew.”

Spielman stated that as the regular season wore down, the team began to pull together with the strong focus on the postseason.

After two huge regional victories, the Falcons now find themselves in the sectional round for the second time in three years.

Talented Falls senior Nick Roelse jump started the offense in the second quarter, as the Falcons outscored the Chargers 17-7.

Roelse scored three buckets to cut the KML lead to 14-10, midway through the second period.

Krueger then stepped up to swish his first three 3-point shots, as the momentum of the game switched to the Falcons.

Thanks to Krueger’s long-range shooting heroics, Falls moved ahead 19-14, with 1:05 left in the first half .

With the crowd abuzz, Roelse drove through the lane for a buzzer-beating lay-up to make the score 21- 14 at halftime.

Lutheran’s Caleb Wolf came out in the third quarter and hit two consecutive jumpers to cut the lead to 21-18.

Falls’ Bobby Musil then made a 3-point shot to the push the lead back to six.

Dylan Rusch and Brett Waldorf tied the game at 24-24 with back-to-back 3-pointers for the Chargers.

Zach Van Engen then got into the act by draining a 3-pointer, as Falls regained a 27-24 lead.

After Roelse’s 3-point shot gave the Falcons some breathing room at 32-28, Cole Heili capped off the third with a big three-point play to make it 35-30.

Falls picked up its defense in the final period and forced the KML offense outside.

Krueger drilled another 3-pointer and a soft jumper in the lane from Roelse made the score 40-30, with 5:43 left in the game.

Lutheran made one last run as Brandon Mantz and Rusch hit consecutive 3-point shots to cut the lead to 40-36.

Krueger then nailed his fifth 3-point shot to silence the Chargers for good, while the Falcons closed out the contest with a 17-6 run.

Van Engen iced the game down the stretch, shooting 6-of-6 overall from the foul line, to finish with 12 points. Overall, Falls was 16-of-25 from the free throw line.

“Everyone played together,” said Van Engen. “We have a good feeling now.”

“We played like we could tonight,” said Roelse. “Krueger gave us a huge lift. Heili said to me, 'I’ll clear out the lane, you do the rest.' That’s how this team has come together.”

Roelse scored 15 points to go along with five assists and eight rebounds. Heili added six points and grabbed eight boards.

Rusch scored 14 and Wolf had 13 to lead the Chargers.


Score by Quarters
Kettle Moraine….…7 7 16 12 - 42
Sheboygan Falls…..4 17 14 22 - 57
Kettle Moraine scorers: Brandon Mantz 8, Brett Waldorf 3, Dylan Rusch 14, Caleb Wolf 13, Sean Esenberg 4.
Sheboygan Falls scorers: Cole Heili 6, Matt Hasler 2, Bobby Musil 4, Mitch Thimmig 1, Aaron Krueger 17, Zach Van
Engen 12, Nick Roelse 15.
Three-point goals: Kettle Moraine - Rusch 3, Mantz 2, Waldorf, Wolf. Sheboygan Falls - Krueger 5, Van Engen 2,
Musil, Roelse.
Statistics: Field goals - Kettle Moraine 15, Sheboygan Falls 7-28 (61 percent). Free throws - Kettle Moraine; 5-8 (63
percent), Sheboygan Falls 16-25 (64 percent). Rebounds - Sheboygan Falls 27. Turnovers - Sheboygan Falls 14.

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