By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Both the Marshfield Tigers and Columbus Dons lost WIAA sectional final games on March 10, ending their respective bids for a chance to play for championships March 16-17 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The Marshfield Tigers (No. 5) lost to La Crosse Central (No. 1) 72-52 in a Division 2 sectional final at Stevens Point Area Senior High. The Tigers trailed by 11 at halftime, but the Raiders used a 17-0 run to start the second half to pull away and win. At one point, Central led by as many as 28.
Last year’s Division 2 state champions were led in scoring by Johnny Davis with 23. Jordan Davis added 13, and Noah Parcher had 12. The Tigers were led by Seth Anderson with 21, and 13 of those came in the second half. Reed Miller added 10 points for Marshfield, which ended its season at 14-12.
Meanwhile, the Columbus Dons boys’ basketball team narrowly missed a return trip to Madison with a surprising upset loss to Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran 57-56 at Antigo High School.
The Dons led just a few times throughout the game, and could get no closer than four or five points in the closing minutes of the game, until senior Nick Malovrh hit a long three-pointer as time expired to pull Columbus to within one point of a state tournament birth for the second time in as many years.
Malovrh had a game-high 18 points in his final appearance in a Dons’ basketball uniform, closing out his career with 1,201 points – good enough for fourth place on the Dons’ all-time scoring list. Seniors Noah Hansen, Nick Hutchison, and Peyton Nystrom ended their Dons’ careers last weekend as well.
“We just didn’t play well enough”, Dons’ coach Joe Konieczny said after the game. “A lot of layups and free throws left out there, and that stuff adds up. In the timeouts we were just trying to get everyone to settle down.”
Junior Jarred Mandel added 16 for Columbus, but he struggled in the first half with missed layups and three-point shots, after going scoreless against Wisconsin Rapids Assumption in the sectional semi-final round on March 8. Mandel scored 318 points for Columbus this season, giving him 474 for his Dons’ career thus far.
Malovrh led the Dons in scoring this season with 537. Noah Taylor added 10 on March 10 for Columbus, and the Dons went 7-16 from the free throw line as well.
Columbus ended its season 24-3. The Blazers (15-12) were led by Luke Bukowski with 18. Samuel Meerstein added 17. Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran faces No. 1 Bangor in a Division 5 state semi-final March 16 at 9:05 a.m. at the Kohl Center in Madison.