By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
The SPASH Panthers Boys Basketball team is the state champion for the third year in a row.
SPASH routed Hartland Arrowhead, 85-56, in the title game Saturday night at the Kohl Center in Madison. Coach Scott Anderson’s charges put on a clinic both offensively and defensively as they cruised to the 29-point win.
If you want to talk about a great start to a game, check this out: four minutes into the contest, SPASH led 13-0. Quite frankly, the chase for the “Gold Ball” award was really never in doubt.
In the early going, Coach Craig Haase’s Warhawks would come down the court and put up a shot, but the hoop wouldn’t have it. The Panthers’ stifling man-to-man defense made it look like there was a lid on Arrowhead’s basket. They finally made a layup at the 13:00 mark. And it was always one and done; Arrowhead would shoot, miss, and SPASH would grab the rebound and take off down-court.
SPASH had an amazing 25 rebounds at halftime, including 13 by their star 6’8” junior forward Joey Hauser. On offense, Hauser had everything going as he continually scored on back-pick set plays, drives, and offensive rebound put-backs. Hauser had 23 points and 15 boards as SPASH took a 48-20 lead at intermission. None of the Panthers’ 48 points in the first half came on the patented fast break.
Their half-court sets were productive — when Hauser wasn’t going nuts inside, SPASH’s sharpshooters began launching from downtown. Guard Beau Rosenthal swished three three-pointers in about a minute, and last night’s hero, Andrew Erdman, also connected on three long-range bombs. Shifty guard Drew Blair also dropped in seven first half points.
Trevell Cunningham, Arrowhead’s dynamic guard, was almost a one-man show in the first 18-minute half as he scored 14 of the Warhawks’ 20 points. Ben Seefeld, Tommy Durand, and Sam Given each netted two.
SPASH outscored Arrowhead, 37-36, in the second half. Hauser had eight free throws and a bucket, and Drew Blair and Beau Rosenthal combined for 10 more points. Drew Cullen tossed in five, and SPASH led 72-47 when Logan Lewis made a layup at the 5:17 mark.
Erdman swished a pair of shots from the charity stripe, and Keon’te Williams, Travis Johnson, and Brennan Mueller each chipped in a basket. It was definitely a day to remember in basketball as the Badgers knocked off defending champion Villanova in March Madness earlier in the afternoon. Joey Hauser ended up with 33 points and 21 rebounds. Cunningham poured in 22 points for the Warhawks. And when everything was said and done, there was dancing in the streets in Stevens Point and Madison and SPASH had to clear some more space in its trophy case for yet another Gold Ball.
PANTHER SCORING: Joey Hauser 33. Beau Rosenthal 13. Drew Blair 13. Andrew Erdman 11. Drew Cullen 5. Logan Lewis 4. Keon’te Williams 2 Brennan Mueller 2 Travis Johnson 2.