Wolves defeat Tigers in Big East showdown

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


CALEB HOLZMAN of Howards Grove shoots over Hilbert’s Grant Propson (30) and an unidentified teammate in Tuesday’s BEC basketball game. Hilbert’s Kody Krueger watches. – Photo by Terry Schaller CALEB HOLZMAN of Howards Grove shoots over Hilbert’s Grant Propson (30) and an unidentified teammate in Tuesday’s BEC basketball game. Hilbert’s Kody Krueger watches. – Photo by Terry Schaller HOWARDS GROVE – The Hilbert Wolves clinched at least a share of their first Big East Conference boys basketball regular-season title with a hard-fought 58-52 win over the Howards Grove Tigers here Tuesday night.

The loss knocked the Tigers out of contention for the BEC championship which they won last year in the inaugural BEC season. Hilbert improved to 11-1 in the conference (15-1 overall) and HG slipped to 8-3 (12-4 overall) and had its five-game winning streak snapped.

Hilbert, tied for No. 4 in the Associated Press Division 5 poll, can wrap up the undisputed BEC crown with a win over Random Lake Friday night in the Wolves’ final game of the regular league season. Sheboygan Christian is in second place in the BEC at 9-2.

“That’s a good team in Howards Grove. We just wanted to make sure we came in here and took care of business and win our first conference title in a couple years,” said Hilbert head coach Nathan Wesener.

“It was a team effort, a great team atmosphere and a good win for us.”

The Wolves jumped out to a 14-4 lead with 14:24 left in the first half and were up the rest of the game. Hilbert scored its first nine points on a three-ball by Kody Krueger, followed by two straight treys from Jack Halbach which gave the visitors a 9-4 lead.

Halbach then converted a threepoint play off a layup and Kyle Krueger hit a fast-break layup for a 14-4 game.

The Tigers, keyed by an aggressive man-to-man defense, used an 8-3 run to pull within 31-25 at halftime. Hilbert went scoreless over five minutes and committed four turnovers during the stretch. Caleb Holzman keyed the Tigers’ rally with five points on a fast-break layup and a three-pointer.

The closest the Tigers could come in the second half was at 44-42 after Holzman sank two free throws at the 8:44 mark.

Connor Kuhn’s trey with 4:14 left put Hilbert up 51-42. HG answered with six straight points on Derek Stauss’s rebound basket, followed by Bryce Pedrin’s two free throws and Holzman’s driving layup which made it 51-48.

Hilbert sealed the victory by hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the final 1:23.

“We dug ourselves too big of a hole to start and we couldn’t get out of it,” said Tiger head coach Wade Georgeff.

“They knocked down shots [Hilbert made six threes in the first half]. We didn’t box out [on the defensive glass] and the second opportunities will kill you.

“I just wish we could’ve come out with more energy. We had a lot to play for tonight,” said Georgeff.

“Their defense is tough. They’re real physical and we struggle against teams that are physical. They’re a really good team. It seemed like they wanted it more.”

Pedrin paced the Tigers in scoring with 16 points and Holzman hit 14.

Kody Krueger led the Wolves’ offense with 16 points and Halbach tallied 14. Kody Krueger also had a team-high nine rebounds.

“On the defensive end of the ball our guys were executing the scouting report. To hold a good-shooting team to 52 points is a tough task,” said Wesener.

“They have a lot of good athletes and we wanted to give them one shot each possession.”

The Tigers had few second-shot opportunities.


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