Tigers clip Eagles in BEC Tourney semifinals

by Matt Kraus Review Co respondent


NICK BRICKNER, Howards Grove forward, looks for an open teammate under pressure from Sheboygan Christian’s Chris TenDolle in Thursday’s BEC Basketball Tournament semifinals. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley NICK BRICKNER, Howards Grove forward, looks for an open teammate under pressure from Sheboygan Christian’s Chris TenDolle in Thursday’s BEC Basketball Tournament semifinals. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOWARDS GROVE – Howards Grove hosted a Big East Conference Boys Basketball Tournament semifinal Thursday night between the hometown Tigers and the Sheboygan Christian Eagles.

The game looked to be a thriller again. In their first meeting this season on Jan. 25, Nick Brickner’s tip-in beat the final buzzer and gave the Tigers a 47-45 win. In the rematch, the Tigers held on for a 70- 67 win which extended their winning streak to 12 and upped their record to 17-3. The Eagles slipped to 14-6.

Jordan Miller made a free throw with 22 seconds to give the Tigers a 70-67 lead. An offensive rebound and kick-out to Jacob Stecker on the baseline gave the Eagles a final shot at a tie. Stecker’s three-point shot went in and out just before the buzzer sounded.


BRYCE PEDRIN of Howards Grove attempts to drive to the basket past an unidentified Sheboygan Christian player in Thursday’s BEC Basketball Tournament semifinal game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley BRYCE PEDRIN of Howards Grove attempts to drive to the basket past an unidentified Sheboygan Christian player in Thursday’s BEC Basketball Tournament semifinal game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “We did a good job defending the initial shot. Both teams left it all out there on the floor. I credit our guys for weathering that storm,” said Tiger head coach Eric Worth.

“It wasn’t pretty but they got it done. It’s that time of year – ‘survive and advance,’” said Worth.

The top-seeded Tigers, held a nine-point lead with 12:53 remaining and looked to be in control with the defense forcing six turnovers early in half but the Eagles were not ready to give up. A 13-5 run over the next four minutes brought the Eagles to a one-point deficit at 49-48 with 9:15 remaining.

Following a HGHS timeout, the Tigers’ Devin Gallenberger drove to the hoop and was fouled, sending him to the foul line. After making the first shot, he was sent to the bench for blood on his leg.

Bryce Pedrin came into the game for Gallenberger and hit the second free throw. The Tigers continued to attack the hoop and opened a 58-50 lead following a Pedrin three-ball.

“[During the timeout] we talked about getting good shots on the offensive end of the floor. We seemed to be getting some good looks but they weren’t dropping for us. We also talked about how important it was to get stops on defense,” said Worth.

“It seemed like anytime we made a big play, the ball would take some crazy bounce and end up in Sheboygan Christian’s hands for a layup.”

Pedrin hit his third three pointer of the game with 2½ minutes remaining to give the Tigers a sevenpoint lead.

The Tigers held a 66-61 lead with 1:33 remaining. The final stretch of the game saw the Tigers make only 4 of 8 free-throw attempts. The Tigers season-long struggles from the foul line continued as the team finished the game 17-for-30.

“I was looking to find the right guys that could hit some free throws down the stretch and get stops on defense,” said Worth.

“You just try to figure out what’s working and take into account match-up situations that play into your favor. I thought we stuck with our normal rotation for the most part.”

With the game tied 18-18 at the 5:50 point of the first half, Pedrin hit a three-pointer. Two possessions later, Eric Reinemann hit a three to give the Tigers a six-point lead.

The Tigers pressed after the basket and Caleb Holzman came up with a backcourt steal and lay-up to open a 26-20 lead.

The Tigers opened a nine-point lead with a minute remaining, following a Derrick Grimm threepointer. A lay-in by Stecker cut the lead to seven with 45 seconds remaining.

Grimm dribbled the clock down to 17 seconds remaining and the Tigers went into their offense. Gallenberger drove into the lane and hit Micah Rautmann under the hoop. The Eagles committed a foul, sending Rautmann to the free throw line where he was able to make a free throw to give the Tigers a 36-28 halftime lead.

Gallenberger led the Tigers’ attack with 18 points. Gallenberger, Reinemann and Nick Brickner grabbed four rebounds apiece. Grimm dished out a team-high four assists. Holzman led the Tigers in steals with five.

“Devin looked to attack a little bit more [in the second half]. He knows when it’s time to get things rolling and I thought he did a pretty good job of that down the stretch,” said Worth.

“Credit Christian for making it tough for him to catch the ball and helping whenever they could.”

“Eric Reinemann was huge for us off the bench in the scoring category. He had nine points in the first half which really gave us a boost after SC went on a run.

Bryce Pedrin hit a couple of really big threes for us when we needed them as well,” said Worth.

Michael Alsum led the Eagles in scoring with 15.


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