Tigers clinch share of Big East crown

KOHLER – The Howards Grove Tigers clinched at least a share of the Big East Conference boys basketball regular-season title with a 54-41 win over host Kohler Friday night.

The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in last week’s Associated Press Press Division 4 poll, improved to 12-0 in the BEC (16-0 overall). Kohler, third in the league, dropped to 9-2 in BEC play (13-3 overall). Sheboygan Lutheran holds down second at 11-1.

HG outscored the Blue Bombers 37-23 in the second half after trailing 18-17 at halftime. Senior forwards Eric Reinemann and Isaac Dirker ignited the Tigers’ attack in the second half with 15 and 10 points, respectfully.

The Tigers had another strong defensive game. HG is holding opponents to an average of less than 40 points per game this season. Kohler shot only 33 percent from the field.

“The guys came out kind of flat, offensively, to start. We were getting good looks, we just weren’t able to finish. We stuck with our game plan though, mak- ing a few tweaks, and finally things in the paint opened up,” said Tiger head coach Wade Georgeff.

“The guys worked their butts off on the defensive end. Kohler can put up a lot of points, so we had to make sure we contested everything and limited second chance opportunities. For the most part we did that. Derek Stauss played some very good defense.”

Reinemann, who scored most of his points inside, led HG’s offense with 19 points. Reinemann and Dirker had a team-high nine rebounds each.

Dirker and Jack Baldwin paced the Tigers in assists with six each. Austin Bender and Reinemann led in steals with two each.

“Isaac Dirker had an unbelievable game. The way he attacked the rim and the ability to finish in contact was nice to see. What stood out the most to me was his toughness on defense and finishing with nine rebounds,” Georgeff pointed out.

“Eric Reinemann proved that he is one of the best players in the area this season in the second half. He is a beast in the paint and when he decides to take the ball to the hoop.”

Senior guard Ben Maki led the Bombers in scoring with 17, including four three-point goals. Sean Farrell had a team-high 10 boards.

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