Tigers fall to FDL St. Mary’s Springs in regional semifinal

Matt Kraus Review Correspondent

ETHAN BRINKMAN of Howards Grove attacks the basket as a St. Mary’s Springs player defends in Friday night’s regional basketball semifinal game. — Photo by Jeff Edge ETHAN BRINKMAN of Howards Grove attacks the basket as a St. Mary’s Springs player defends in Friday night’s regional basketball semifinal game. — Photo by Jeff Edge FOND DU LAC – The Howards Grove Tigers boys basketball season came to a crashing halt after a trip to Fond du Lac to visit the St. Mary’s Springs Ledgers on Friday night.

Second-half foul trouble for Howards’ leading scorer this season, Ethan Brinkman, an aggressive Ledgers’ defense and missed opportunities at the free-throw line created significant problems for the Tigers, resulting in a 67-48 defeat in the Division 4 regional semifinal matchup.

By halftime, the Tigers had cut a six-point, first-quarter Ledgers’ lead to three. Throughout the firsthalf, both teams took fast breaks when they were available but were mostly patient as the teams looked for the best shot. The Ledgers penetrated the lane and if a short jump shot or layup was not available kicked the ball back out to the perimeter and reset the offense.

Ledger head coach Kyle Krueger said the team moved the ball well and was able to find open looks for Brennan Ottery who scored all of his team-high 15 points on five makes from behind the three-point line.

Howards worked the ball around the perimeter looking for the open shooter, but was willing to drive to the basket when it was available. St. Mary’s played a tight man-to-man defense on Austin Edge and although Edge scored the Tigers first five points, he was held to just nine for the game.

Brinkman committed his second foul of the game with less than two minutes remaining in the secby ond quarter and his third foul just 1:02 into the second half. With the foul, Howard’s leading scorer had to take his 12 first-half points to the bench.

Krueger said Brinkman’s foul trouble was a huge impact on the game.

“Brinkman’s foul trouble “didn’t help the team in the third quarter but the missed free throws are what hurt the most,” said Tiger head coach Eric Worth.

“Howards shot 1-for-7 from the foul line in the third quarter. Trent Benninghaus gave an outstanding effort on the boards, grabbing four offensive rebounds in the quarter.

Worth stated, “Trent was our X factor all season. He is a bit undersized but he works very hard.”

Even Benninghaus’s effort could not help the Tigers, especially when Ottery hit three threepoint shots in the quarter, individually scoring more points in the quarter than the Tigers as a team. The third quarter ended with the Ledgers leading 50-37.

The Tigers closed the deficit to 10 on a three-point basket by Alex Strege to open the fourth quarter but the Tigers could not get an closer than 11 points after the Ledgers scored on the following possession.

Krueger said the Ledgers’ goal was to hold Edge and Brinkman to 24 points combined. The duo combined for 25 points – a satisfying mark for the coach. Krueger indi- cated the team played with the best intensity all season.

“Overall, we knew we needed to win the rebounding battle and win the free-throw line and we weren’t able to do that,” said Worth.

“Springs played a great game and we have to give credit where credit is due.”

The No. 3-seeded Tigers ended their season with a 14-10 record. The No. 2-seeded Ledgers lost in the finals Saturday night against top-seeded Oshkosh Lourdes Academy, 68-54.

“I’m very proud of the growth I’ve seen from my guys throughout the season,” Worth said.



Score by Quarters

Howards Grove......14 16 7 11 48
St. Mary’s Springs..20 13 17 17 67

Howards Grove scoring: Austin Edge 9, Alex Strege 7, Trent Beninghaus 7, Andrew Reinemann 2, Ethan Brinkman 16, Jonah Gerber 5, CJ Berg 2. Three-point goals: Brinkman 2, Gerber 1, Strege 1, Edge 1.

St. Mary’s Springs scoring: Ricky Stoegbauer 4, Sam Cruz 6, Cory Nies 11, Collin Ottery 9, Luke Gellings 4, Zach Hintze 10, Ben Palmer 4, Tony Schmitz 4, Brennan Ottery 15. Threepoint goals: B. Ottery 5, Hintze 1.

Field goals: Howards Grove 17- 42, 40%; St. Mary’s 21-39, 54%. Free throws: Howards Grove 9-23, 39%; St. Mary’s 18-24, 75%.

Rebounds: Howards Grove 20, St. Mary’s 32.

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