Dons play Almond-Bancroft at SPASH in sectional semifinal Thursday
By Steve Pilz
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Columbus Catholic Dons are regional champs after a 69-47 win over the Loyal Greyhounds on Saturday night at the Columbus Catholic High School Gym in a WIAA Division 5 regional final.
No. 1 seed Columbus Catholic (23-2) moves on to play second-seeded Almond-Bancroft (23-2) in a Division 5 sectional semifinal Thursday at Stevens Point Area Senior High. The game will be at 7 p.m. and broadcast on WOSQ-FM 92.3 and wdlbwosq.com.
Almond-Bancroft beat the Dons last season in the D-5 regional final.
The Dons’ Nick Malovrh regrouped after a poor performance the night before. The usually steady junior guard and all-conference player had just two points Friday night against Rosholt, partly due to some foul trouble and some uncharacteristically cold shooting.
Malovrh redeemed himself and then some as he got the Dons rolling early with a 17-point first half, which included three 3-pointers, as the Dons rolled to a 40-20 halftime lead. Loyal’s Cameron Brussow had eight points at the break, but the Greyhounds were their own worst enemy, turning the ball over 13 times in the first half and shooting just 8-for-21.
Little changed to start the second half as the Dons made five of their first six shots, including a pair of lay-ups by Charles Payant, and pushed their lead to 25 at 49-24.
With starter Elliot Genteman saddled with foul trouble, sophomore Quinn Brussow came in off the bench and hit three field goals in a row for Loyal. That, sandwiched around a field goal and a 3-pointer by his brother Cameron, spurred a 20-6 run tomake a game of it. Perhaps some ill-advised 3-point shooting by the Dons allowed the Greyhounds to dramatically cut the lead to just 11.
“I give coach (Rob) Love all the credit in the world,” Columbus coach Joe Konieczny said. “We had them down 24, 25 points, and he didn’t quit. He kept trying to find a way to get his team back in the game. He put on a 2-2-1 press. We didn’t handle it well at all for seven of eight minutes, and they cut the lead down to 11. Our kids figured out what to do after that.”
Payant score all 10 of his points in the second half and shot 5 for 6 in the game.
Tyler Fuerlinger led the Dons in scoring with 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Malovrh had 19 points in the game, including 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. Hunter Schultz made his return to the starting line-up after missing the past five games with a foot injury and shook off the rust with 18 points.
Konieczny had high praise for the Greyhounds.
“Give Loyal credit,” he said. “Those kids got a lot of fight. It’s been an honor to play against (Cameron) Brussow and (Riley) Geiger and coach Love. They’ve made us better because they made us a better team.”
Up next is a rematch with Almond-Bancroft.
“Almond/Bancroft is very good,” Konieczny said. “They’ve got a good point guard. … We’ll have our work cut out for us. We’re going to enjoy this tonight and then start thinking four days ahead. We have an opportunity Thursday against another really good team.”
Dons 69, Greyhounds 47
Loyal 20 27 – 47
Columbus Catholic 40 29 – 69
LOYAL (47): Riley Geiger 9, Jordan Radue 5, Quinn Brussow 10, Cameron Brussow 23. FG: 16-41. FT: 12-17. 3-pointers: 3-13 (C. Brussow 2, Q. Brussow). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: C.Brussow. Record 18-7.
COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (69): Jarred Mandel 2, Charles Payant 10, Nick Malovrh 19, Hunter Schultz 18, Tyler Fuerlinger 20. FG: 26-54. FT: 10-18. 3-pointers: 7-19. (Malovrh 3, T. Fuerlinger 2, Schultz 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none. Record 23-2.