Crusaders knock Tigers from CLC lead

Matt Kraus Review Co respondent

SHEBOYGAN – The Sheboygan Lutheran Crusaders escaped with a 72-66 victory over the Howards Grove Tigers in a Central Lakeshore Conference boys basketball game here Friday night.

Lutheran, ranked No. 4 in last week’s Associated Press Division 5 poll, improved to 4-0 in CLC play (6-0 overall), while the Tigers fell to 4-1 in conference play (4-2 overall). The Crusaders and Ozaukee shared the league lead, followed by HGHS which had a half-game advantage going into Friday’s game.

Highlighting the night was the shooting performance by Crusader sophomore Joshua Splittgerber as he made seven three-point baskets and scored a game-high 23 points, including five three-pointers in the second half.

The teams played to a 29-29 tie in the first half which saw neither team lead by more than three points but the second half showed off a series of runs by both teams and a nevergive up attitude.

“I never had a doubt that they would not play hard,” HGHS head coach Eric Worth said about his Tigers.

A third-quarter, buzzer-beating 26-foot jumper by Josh Pingel gave the Crusaders a six-point lead heading to the final quarter, after the Tigers closed to within three points seconds before Pingel’s jumper.

The Tigers opened a 34-29 lead early in the third quarter after Luke Stanczyk converted a put- back basket and Zach Fritz completed a threepoint play on a lay-up and free throw.

Pingel made a three-point basket to cut the Tigers’ advantage to two, Fritz hit the first of his two threepoint baskets to extend the Howards lead back to five points. Pingel converted two free throws for the Crusaders and Trent Beninghaus scored in the lane, returning the Tigers to a five-point lead.

“Trent [Beninghaus] was effective when he got the ball inside. We just didn’t get it to him enough. We need to get better at that,” said Worth.

Lutheran responded with a 7-0 run on two free throws and threepoint basket by Karl Berg, and a basket in the lane by Joshua Splittgerber, to open a 41-39 lead. A free throw by Dakota Rabe cut the lead to one point but Sheboygan Lutheran responded with a 7-0 run, sparked by two treys by Splittgerber.

Beninghaus stopped the run with a basket following an offensive rebound but Splittgerber replied with another three-point basket, giving the Crusaders a 50-42 lead with 1:59 remaining in the quarter. Following a timeout, the Tigers went on a 5-0 run to cut the Lutheran lead to 50-47 before Pingel’s buzzer beater.

Jacob Jurss, the Crusaders leading scorer and a Division 5 all-state selection last season, was held to only nine points through the first three quarters, all in the first half.

With 4:06 remaining in the game, Jurss made his presence known with a three-point basket, layup and a free throw to give Lutheran a 60-54 lead. An exchange of two-point baskets and a three-pointer by the Tigers brought HGHS within three points with 2:20 remaining.

Following a Sheboygan Lutheran time-out and an exchange of two-point baskets, Jurss penetrated and found Splittgerber wide open on consecutive Crusader trips, for Splittgerber’s final two three-point baskets, giving Lutheran a 68-62 lead.

Tiger senior Ethan Brinkman led the team with 18 points which included making 10 of 11 free- throw attempts.

“SL was able to take advantage of some mental mistakes we made,” said Worth.


Score by Quarters
Howards Grove......11 18 18 19 – 66
Sheb. Lutheran......12 17 24 19 – 72

Howards Grove scoring: Ethan Brinkman 18, Trent Beninghaus 10, Derrick Grimm 9, Luke Stanczyk 7, Zach Fritz 7, Alex Strege 6, Andrew Reinemann 5, Dakota Rabe 2, Jonah Gerber 2. Three-point goals: Grimm 2, Reinemann 1, Fritz 1.

Sheboygan Lutheran scoring: Joshua Splittgerber 23, Jacob Jurss 18, Karl Berg 11, Josh Pingel 11, Justin Landby graf 5, Jared Jurss 2, AJ Holzheimer 2. Three- point goals: Splittgerber 7, Pingel 2, Jacob Jurss 2, Landgraf 1, Berg 1.

Field goals: Howards Grove 22- 52, 42%; Sheboygan Lutheran 25-57, 44%. Free throws: Howards Grove 17- 28, 61%; Sheboygan Lutheran 9-13, 69%.

Rebounds: Howards Grove 28, Sheboygan Lutheran 25. Turnovers: Howards Grove 8, Sheboygan Lutheran 10.

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