WHS boys win last two to take share of DC Large title
A conference title seemed impossible after the Whitehall boys basketball team lost its first four games of the 2019-20 season, but the Norse have only lost two games since and with two wins last week they won a share of the Dairyland Conference Large Division title.
The last of Whitehall’s four losses to start the season came on a buzzer beater against Melrose-Mindoro, but the Norse made up for that last week Monday, scoring a 72-57 win over the Mustangs. With the conference title on the line on Thursday, the Norse took control early in a 63-36 win over Eleva-Strum.
Whitehall finished the season with 10 straight DC wins as they went 12-3 in conference play, tying with Alma Center Lincoln for the championship. Whitehall enters the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament with an overall record of 16-6.
With the third seed in their Division Four bracket, Whitehall had a bye with tournament play began this week Tuesday. The Norse will play the winner of the game between (11) Stanley-Boyd and (6) Fall Creek on Friday with the winner playing in the regional final on Saturday, likely hosted by second-seeded Eau Claire Regis.
The sectional semifinal game — with Durand as the top seed in Whitehall’s half of the bracket — is scheduled for next week Thursday in Arcadia with the sectional final slated for Saturday at Eau Claire Memorial.
Whitehall 72 Mel-Min 57 - A big game scoring for a freshman and rebounding for a senior led the Norse to the win.
Whitehall led by eight points, 31-23, at halftime before pulling away for a lopsided win in the second half.
Leading the team in scoring was freshman Devon McCune, who finished with 25 points. Also with a big game was senior Brandon Dick, who scored 12 points and pulled down 16 of the team’s 43 rebounds. Isaac Skoyen added 13 rebounds and six points.
James Breska was second on Whitehall with 13 points, including four three pointers, while Jonathan Thorn added 12 and both Ian Pank and Luke Beighely scored two.
The Norse shot 44 percent from the field in the game and managed 35 free-throw attempts, making 21.
Whitehall (field goals/attempts-free throws/attempts-rebounds-points) — McCune 5/7-8/12-4-25 Sonsalla 0/2-0/0-0-0 Thorn 4/8-4/7-1-12 Breska 4/9-1/2-3-13 Carroll 0/0-0/0-1-0 Skoyen 1/6-4/6-13-6 Beighley 1/3-0/1-3-2 George 0/0-0/0-1-0 Pank 1/3-0/0-1-2 Dick 4/7-4/7-16-12
Whitehall 63 E-S 36 - It was raining threes early as the Norse opened up a 10-point lead about 10 minutes into the game.
Consecutive three pointers by Breska and Beighley turned a deficit into a lead before Breska hit again to put the Norse ahead 14-6 with 9:24 left in the first half.
After two Eleva-Strum free throws stopped the bleeding temporarily, Dick scored two straight baskets before McCune hit a pair of free throws to make the score 20-8.
Breska added two more three pointers and Beighley knocked in another as the Norse took a 33-18 lead into halftime.
Whitehall maintained control throughout the second half as their defense continued to shut E-S down. The Norse held the Cardinals to 25 percent shooting from the field in the game and E-S made 11-of-25 free throws. Whitehall, meanwhile, shot 34 percent from the field and made 14-of-25 from the charity stripe.
It was a balanced attack for the Norse as Breska led the way with 15 and Beigley scored 10. Dick added eight points, McCune, Sonsalla and Skoyen all scored seven, Zach George finished with four, Josh Back had three and both Michael Spare and Ian Pank scored one.
Whitehall (field goals/attempts-free throws/attempts-rebounds-points) — McCune 0/8-7/10-8-7 Sonsalla 3/5-0/2-3-7 Thorn 0/7-0/0-8-0 Back ½-1/2-1-3 Breska 5/13-1/2-2-15 Spare 0/0-1/2-0-1 Skoyen 2/7-3/4-3-7 Schneider 0/0-0/0-1-0 Beighley 4/7-0/0-0-10 George 2/3-0/0-0-4 Pank 0/1-1/2-3-1 Dick 4/8-0/1-12-8