Tigers lose triple-OT thriller in sectional

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


ERIC REINEMANN of Howards Grove attacks the hoop against Roncalli’s Matt LeVene in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. Roncalli’s Mitchel Schneider (22) and an unidentified teammate look on. – Photo by Terry Schaller ERIC REINEMANN of Howards Grove attacks the hoop against Roncalli’s Matt LeVene in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. Roncalli’s Mitchel Schneider (22) and an unidentified teammate look on. – Photo by Terry Schaller KAUKAUNA – The Howards Grove Tigers and the Manitowoc Roncalli Jets waged an amazing battle here Thursday night in a Division 4 boys sectional basketball semifinal. It’s too bad there had to be a losing team.

Roncalli survived in triple-overtime, 61-58, with the game going right down to the wire. Mitchel Schneider made 1 of 2 free throws with 3.4 seconds left which gave the Jets a 61-58 lead. Dalton Free then missed a desperation three-point shot at the buzzer from about 30 feet away which bounced off the top of the backboard.

“That was an instant classic. We were fortunate enough to come out on top. Howards Grove is much deserving of the win,” said Jet head coach Joe Garceau.


WILL RAUTMANN of Howards Grove drives to the basket past Roncalli’s Mitchel Schneider (22) in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. HG’s Eric Reinemann and Roncalli’s Chombi Lambert look on. – Photo by Terry Schaller WILL RAUTMANN of Howards Grove drives to the basket past Roncalli’s Mitchel Schneider (22) in Thursday’s sectional basketball game. HG’s Eric Reinemann and Roncalli’s Chombi Lambert look on. – Photo by Terry Schaller “It’s playoff time and you survive and advance. It’s unfortunate that someone had to lose. It could’ve gone either way,” said Garceau.

“I’m proud of how the guys played. They left it all out there,” said Tiger head coach Wade Georgeff.

“They all worked hard all year. They should be really proud of themselves. I told them to keep their heads up.”

The No. 2-seeded Tigers finished an outstanding season at 22-3 and played in their fourth straight sectional. HG was the Big East Conference regular-season champion with a 13-0 record.


THE HOWARD GROVE band plays during Thursday’s HG-Roncalli sectional basketball game. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE HOWARD GROVE band plays during Thursday’s HG-Roncalli sectional basketball game. – Photo by Terry Schaller Top-seeded Roncalli defeated Racine Prairie, 60-50, in the sectional finals Saturday afternoon to earn its second straight trip to the D-4 state tournament. The Jets improved to 21-5.

The Tigers fought back from a nine-point deficit in the final 6:36 of the second half to force overtime. The Jets’ lead grew from 38-35 to 44-35 with 7:20 left after back-to-back three pointers by Chombi Lambert and Matt LeVene.

HG answered with a 12-3 run to close out regulation and tie the game at 47-47. Senior forward Eric Reinemann sparked the stretch with 10 points, capped off by a three-point play which gave HG a 47-45 lead with 40.6 seconds remaining.

Matt LeVene’s driving layup brought Roncalli even at 47-47 with 25 seconds left. The Tigers called a timeout with 14.5 seconds remaining to plan strategy for a shot. Isaac Dirker was short on an off-balanced jumper in the lane as time ran out in regulation.

Tiger junior guard Will Rautmann’s basket with only one second left in the first overtime period tied the game, 50-50, and forced a second extra session. Rautmann hit the tying basket after a twisting drive down the lane. The ball bounced up above the rim and back through the net.

The Tigers missed a chance to win in the second overtime. The game was deadlocked 52-52 after Lambert and HG’s Jack Baldwin scored one basket each. After Mitchel Schneider misfired on a drive for Roncalli, HG called a timeout with 59 seconds left.

The Tigers called another timeout with 14.9 seconds showing to set up strategy for a final shot. HG tried to pass the ball inside to Reinemann for a shot but Reinemann bobbled the ball and Lambert stole it with three seconds left. Lambert’s desperation heave was way off the mark as time expired.

Roncalli grabbed 55- 52 lead in the third overtime on Matt LeVene’s three-ball at the 3:17 mark. The Jets didn’t relinquish their lead.

“It’s tough now but the way that game was, it was a fun game. Our effort was awesome,” said Reinemann.

“A couple of little things kinda killed us – free throws, missed layups and a couple turnovers.

“They earned our respect. They work for everything. We weren’t going to go down easy,” said Reinemann.

Reinemann had an outstanding game – leading both teams in scoring with 22 points, rebounds, 17 and blocked shots with two. Blake Pedrin paced HG in assists with three. Dirker had a team-high two steals.

“Eric played phenomenal. Jack Baldwin [junior guard] played good. Will Rautmann [junior guard] came in and played superb defense. I’m proud of all of the guys,” said Georgeff.

“They [Tigers] battled back and got it into three overtimes. We came back, it was just the inability to finish around the hoop and make free throws.

“You have to give credit where credit is due. They [Jets] knocked down some tough shots and they played good defense too,” said Georgeff.

“I thought we did a good job of spreading them out and attacking. I was happy with our defense.”

Lambert led the Jets in scoring with 20, boards with five and assist, six.

Roncalli shot an excellent 61 percent from three-point range at 11 of 18. The Tigers were 3 of 9 on threepoint shots.

Both teams struggled at the foul line – HG at 3 of 10 and the Jets, 6 of 18.


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