Vikings’ Boys Hoops Season Ends Short of State

The Gibraltar boys basketball team ended its season a win short of advancing to the WIAA state basketball tournament for a second straight year.

The Vikings lost 66-54 to Wausau Newman Catholic in Saturday’s Division 5 sectional championship game at Seymour.

Gibraltar took an early 8-5 lead on a field goal by Mateo Jauregui, then Newman Catholic responded with an 11-0 scoring run to pull in front and remain there for the rest of the game.

The Cardinals, who extended their lead to 23-12 on a 3-point basket by Isaac Seidel with about 6:30 remaining before halftime, set up in a defense that was able to limit the Vikings’ inside scoring opportunities in the first half, which ended with Newman Catholic in front, 31-22.

Gibraltar’s Carl Burgess (center) drives inside while being guarded by Newman Catholic’s Isaac Seidel (23) as Gibraltar’s Braden Sitte (0) looks on in back in Saturday’s WIAA Division 5 sectional championship at Seymour. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

Gibraltar did a better job working the ball inside early in the second half and cut the deficit to four points in less than four minutes. Will Friedenfels made one of two free throws as Newman Catholic led 35-31 with 14:11 to play.

After the Cardinals extended their lead to nine points midway through the second half, the Vikings reduced the deficit to 46-41 on a field goal by Braden Sitte, but could get no closer before time expired.

Gibraltar was led by Sitte with 17 points. Friedenfels added 11 points, and Carl Burgess scored 10 more.

Newman Catholic also had three players score in double figures led by Mason Prey with 22 points, followed by Seidel with 21 and Elijah Gustafson with 11.

The Vikings, who finished the season 13-15 overall, will be graduating four of their starters – Friedenfels, Burgess, Jauregui and Jake Schar – and three reserve players – Garrett Voight, Jack Duffy and Nathan Merkel.

The Cardinals advance to the state tournament as the No. 1 seed in Division 5 and will play their semifinal game Friday morning at the Kohl Center in Madison against No. 4-seeded Royall.