Tigers cruise, clinch share of CLC title

by Matt Kraus
Review Co respondent

HOWARDS GROVE – Senior Night for the Howards Grove Tigers’ boys basketball team Thursday saw Aaron Rathke, leading scorer and rebounder for the Random Lake Rams, try to steal the spotlight from the hosts.

The Tigers’ defense left the senior guard/forward wide open under the hoop on the Rams’ first two possessions. Rathke did not convert from the field but drew two fouls and he made all four of his free throws to put the Rams out to an early 4-0 lead.

“We weren’t rotating properly on those possessions but we got it corrected” said Tiger head coach Eric Worth.

The Tigers indeed corrected their defense, and their offense started rolling on the way to a 74-39 rout that guaranteed the Tigers at least a share of the Central Lakeshore Conference Championship. The Tigers, who won their first CLC title since 1992, improved to 14-1 in the conference (17-4 overall) and maintain a one-game lead over Ozaukee (13-2 in CLC).

The Tigers will travel to Ozaukee Thursday night for the CLC finale with an outright conference championship on the line for HGHS. Ozaukee needs a win to gain a share of the title.

Random Lake ended its CLC season at 6-10 and fell to 7-13 overall.

“I am happy for the team. They have worked hard to get to this point,” said Worth.

“It feels good to have a share of the conference championship but we want it by ourselves. We got to this point by working hard and we have excellent leadership,” said senior guard Ethan Brinkman.

As the Tigers faced an early deficit, Zach Fritz hit a three-pointer to close the Rams’ lead to 4-3, but Rathke responded with a put-back basket.

Brinkman scored 11 of his gamehigh 27 points on four of the Tigers’ next five possessions – connecting on three consecutive three-pointers and a drive into the lane to push Howards to a 14-8 lead with 3:42 remaining in the quarter.

HGHS continued to roll as it went on 13-1 run that included three made three-pointers, giving the team seven in the quarter, and a 27-9 lead heading to the second period.

Following a second quarter in which the Tigers extended their lead by seven points and held a 44- 19 halftime lead, the Rams scored 18 points in the third, nearly matching their first-half output. Random Lake outscored the Tigers by six points to cut the deficit to 56-37 heading to the final quarter.

The final quarter saw the Rams turn the ball over seven times, including five steals by the Tigers, and score only two points as the Tigers cruised to the victory.

Eleven Tigers scored and the team grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and 35 overall, with Trent Benninghaus’ eight boards leading the way. Fritz dished out a team-high four assists.

“Zach [Fritz], Derrick [Grimm], and Andrew [Reinemann] deserve credit for their defense. The whole team deserves credit for the win tonight,” said Brinkman.

“I am happy with the way the team played tonight,” said Worth. “We had several kids sick with the flu Monday night (in a nonconference loss to Kiel]. We are getting back to being healthy.”

Rathke led the Rams in scoring with 17.


Score by Quarters
Random Lake...........9 10 18 2 – 39
Howards Grove......27 17 12 13 – 74

Random Lake scoring: Evan De- Broix 4, Logan Martin 7, Austin Martin 2, Dan Ruchalski 5, Aaron Rathke 17, Bryan Weiss 2, Riley Stout 2. Threepoint goals: Rathke 2, Rucharski 1.

Howards Grove scoring: Luke Stanczyk 5, Trent Beninghaus 6, Ethan Brinkman 27, Zach Fritz 9, Dakota Rabe 7, Devin Gallenberger 6, Alex Strege 5, Jonah Gerber 5, Derrick Grimm 2, Micah Rautmann 1, Jordan Miller 1. Three-point goals: Brinkman 4, Fritz 3, Gallenberger 1, Gerber 1, Rabe 1, Strege 1.

Field goals: Random Lake 14-44, 32%; Howards Grove 27-52, 52%. Free throws: Random Lake 8-14, 57%; Howards Grove 9-19, 47%.

Rebounds: Random Lake 22, Howards Grove 35. Turnovers: Random Lake 20, Howards Grove 14.

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