A lost lead late in the game and an insurmountable early deficit ended the seasons of the two remaining Door County boys basketball teams in regional final action Saturday.
Southern Door led 59-53 with 4 minutes, 5 seconds remaining only to go scoreless the rest of the way as Kohler rallied to win 60-59 in Division 4 action. Gibraltar trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, rallied to cut its deficit to 7 three times in the second half but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 79-70 loss to Wausaukee in a Division 5 matchup.
“It’s a tough loss,” Southern Door coach Pete Claflin said. “Our guys feel bad and I feel bad. We were right there and we had a chance. We had them but we couldn’t stop them down the stretch. We had a couple of looks at the end but we just came up a little short. I’m proud of our guys.”
After Tyler Roeder’s basket brought Kohler to within 54-53, Nate Everard hit a three-pointer and Logan Jeanquart followed with a steal and a layup to give the Eagles a 59-53 advantage. The Eagles made a stop on the next possession, and they decided to burn some time off the clock with extended possessions.
The Bombers responded by pressing the Eagles into empty possessions and baskets by Roeder and Leo Fink closed the gap to 59-57 with 1:39 to play. After making a defensive stop, Conner Cassidy hit a pair of free throws to give the Bombers a 60-59 lead with less than a minute remaining.
The Eagles regained possession after Carter Gebler missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Eagles called timeout with 12.7 seconds to play. Leading scorer Ryan Claflin drew a double team on the final possession and dished the ball to Jeanquart, but his potential game winning shot was blocked by Roeder.
“We figured they were going to double [team] Ryan,” Coach Claflin said. “They came at him hard and he made the right play. Logan had a good drive and shot at it. That’s how it goes sometimes. We were out of synch for three or four possessions. Are you really aggressive looking to score or do you kill a little clock? We kind of got caught in between.”
Gebler kept the Bombers in the game in the first half with 18 points. Southern Door responded by hitting five 3-pointers, including three by Everard to take a 25-22 lead at halftime. The Eagles opened up a 42-35 lead with 11:30 to play, but the Bombers rallied to tie the score at 51 with 5:13 to play.
“We competed against a very good team on their home court and we were one point away,” Claflin said. “That’s how these come to end at tournament time sometimes. I’m proud of our guys. It was a fun ride.”
Ryan Claflin closed out a stellar career with 24 points, including 18 in the second half. Everard added 12 – all on 3-pointers – and Nick Baudhuin scored 8.
“I really enjoyed coaching all of these kids and I’ve really grown to appreciate them,” Claflin said of his team, which finished 17-7. “They gave everything they had.”
Wausaukee jumped out to a 16-2 lead on Gibraltar with 14:00 left in the first half and stretched it to 27-10. The Vikings cut the deficit to 38-31 on a 3-pointer by Spencer Krause only to see the Rockets take a 46-36 lead at halftime.
The Vikings cut its deficit to 7 with 11:50 remaining, but Wausaukee responded with an 8-0 run to extend its lead to 63-48. The Vikings moved within 7 again at 69-62 with 4:50 to play but couldn’t get any closer the remainder of the game.
“The slow start definitely hurt us,” Gibraltar coach Justin Buress said. “We cut it to seven but just couldn’t close the gap.”
Dominic Krauel paced the Vikings with 16 points, Krause and Luke Steebs each scored 14.
“Getting a couple of wins in the postseason feels good as a team, but obviously we wanted to move on further,” said Burress, whose team finished 7-18. “I am happy with our senior leadership and the overall feeling of the team. They put it all out there, but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough for the win tonight.”