Tigers dominate Markesan in sectional semis

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


ERIC REINEMANN of Howards Grove tries to dish the ball off to Micah Rautmann (31) as Markesan’s Carson Clark defends in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. – Photo by Terry Schaller ERIC REINEMANN of Howards Grove tries to dish the ball off to Micah Rautmann (31) as Markesan’s Carson Clark defends in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. – Photo by Terry Schaller SHEBOYGAN – The Howards Grove Tigers were hitting on all cylinders in Thursday night’s Division 4 boys sectional basketball semifinal game against Markesan as they crushed the previously unbeaten Hornets, 75- 50, at Sheboygan North.

It was an outstanding team effort for the Tigers on both ends. HGHS carved up the Markesan offense for a 56-percent shooting performance from the field and used a stifling, man-to-man defense in holding a potent offense to only 34-percent field-goal shooting.

HGHS, which advanced to the sectional finals for the second straight year, upped its record to 21-4. The Hornets, ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press D-4 poll, finished 24-1.

“It was a great team effort. We got into the gaps and got stops on defense. Our offense was clicking as well,” said Tiger junior guard Bryce Pedrin.


BRYCE PEDRIN of Howards Grove drives to the basket past Markesan’s Brayden Bernhagen (left) in Thursday’s sectional basketball semifinals. – Photo by Terry Schaller BRYCE PEDRIN of Howards Grove drives to the basket past Markesan’s Brayden Bernhagen (left) in Thursday’s sectional basketball semifinals. – Photo by Terry Schaller “It was definitely our best game of the season. I knew we were capable of playing like this.”

“What a performance!” exclaimed Tiger head coach Eric Worth. “All of the boys were very focused coming into it. They knew what was at stake and they rose to the challenge.

“The team effort was awesome. That’s the only way we’re going to get it done like this.”

The No. 2-seeded Tigers used a 14-2 spurt in the first half to amass a 24-10 lead with about four minutes left. Pedrin spearheaded the run with eight points off the bench, including two three-point goals. Devin Gallenberger added four points on a pair of short jumpers and Micah Raut- mann climaxed the stretch with a follow-up basket.


THE HOWARDS GROVE student section cheers on the Tigers at Thursday’s sectional basketball game versus Markesan. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE HOWARDS GROVE student section cheers on the Tigers at Thursday’s sectional basketball game versus Markesan. – Photo by Terry Schaller Gallenberger canned two three-pointers which gave HGHS a 30-17 advantage with 1:30 remaining in the first half. The Tigers led 30-18 at halftime.

In the first half, the Tigers pounded the ball inside to score several points and moved the ball quickly to the open shooters which led to three-point goals. HGHS hit four treys in the half – two each by Pedrin and Gallenberger.

Markesan struggled on offense in the first half as the Tigers’ length stymied the Hornets’ inside attack. Also, the Tigers’ tight defense afforded few open looks by Markesan. The Hornets were only 5-for-18 from the field in the half.

The Tigers did a nice job on the boards in the opening half – giving up few second shots by Markesan and crashing the offensive glass for several follow-up shots. HGHS scored three baskets on follow-up shots. The Tigers’ strong offensive rebounding made it harder for the Hornets to execute their fast break which is one of their strengths.

Markesan came out more aggressive on offense and defense in the second half and it fueled a 12-6 run which sliced the Tigers’ lead to 36-30 with 13:00 remaining. Carson Clark sparked the rally with eight points, including a trey and two driving layups.

The Hornets really pushed the ball during this stretch as it had the Tigers’ defense back on their heels. Drew Bernhagen contributed a fast-break layup during the spurt.

The Tigers answered Markesan’s rally with an impressive 14-0 tear to go up 50-30 with 8:25 left. Pedrin keyed the run with five points, including two baskets on drives, and Eric Reinemann added four points. Zac Stauss capped off the stretch with a three-pointer.

The Tigers were very effective in attacking the basket during the run as five of the six field goals were scored inside. Gallenberger assisted on both of Reinemann’s layups as he beat his defender off the dribble and then dished off to his teammate.

HGHS held Markesan scoreless for almost five minutes during the 14-0 span in which the Hornets were one and done on seven straight possessions. The HGHS defense forced Markesan to shoot from the perimeter on most of these possessions.

The Tigers led by at least 14 the rest of the game. They blew the contest open with a 13-2 tear in the final 2:37, led by Pedrin’s six points on 6-for-6 foul shooting.

HGHS was led on offense by the 1-2 scoring punch from Gallenberger and Pedrin who pumped in 26 and 23 points, respectively. Pedrin, a senior guard, was 9-for- 10 at the free-throw line.

“The way Devin was able to take on their pressure and attack and get in the lane was pretty impressive. Bryce gave us a huge, huge lift off the bench,” said Worth.

Gallenberger, a senior guard/ forward, also led the Tigers in rebounds with 10 and assists, five. Derrick Grimm and Caleb Holzman had six boards each. Grimm and Reinemann dished out two assists apiece.

Grimm, a senior guard, and Gallenberger did a nice job of penetrating the Hornet defense and then passing the ball off to a teammate for basket or kicking the ball out to an open shooter.

The Tigers shot a blistering 76 percent (16 of 21) from the field in the second half, compared with only 38 percent (12 of 32) for Markesan.

The Tigers’ advantage in length was crucial to their strong interior defense and ability to score inside.

“Just getting in the lane and getting the ball inside [were keys on offense],” Worth pointed out.

“We knew they weren’t a huge team, so let’s see if we can pound the ball in there, and we had huge finishes in there. Everyone was doing their job.”

Brayden Bernhagen paced the Markesan attack with 18 points, including 11 in the first half.


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