Blackhawks are Regional Champs


The Owen-Withee boys basketball team showed their resolve on Saturday night in the Regional Final game against the Rib Lake Redmen at Prentice gymnasium. The Blackhawks played, as always, with grit and determination in a physical defensive dominant game from both teams. The Blackhawks earned the right to be called Regional Champs with a big victory by a final score of 45-43.
Both teams came out determined to win from start to finish as each possession was grinding throughout the game. The Hawks started with a few turnovers as did the Redmen, but later the Hawks were first to score as Vince Henke hit Colin Fritz on a backcut for the first points of the game. A couple of possessions later the Hawks fed Henke inside for a hoop and the 4-0 lead. The Hawks would then add to their lead with Quinn Hatlestad delivering a pass to Dominic Sherwood for a long three, followed by a hard lay-in by Gay for the 9-0 advantage. The Redmen answered however with five straight points. A pair of Henke free throws made it 11-5, but Rib Lake hit a three from deep. The Hawks defense would stay strong, but their offense would be minimal. An old fashioned three-point play by Henke helped the Hawks hold a 14-10 lead. Rib Lake would tie it up later, but a Sherwood to Winston Poehler assist and lay-up got the lead back. The Redmen then scored four straight to take an 18-16 lead. Sherwood then hit a jumper tying the game at 18-18 as both teams would head to the locker room at the half.
The Redmen came out and grabbed the early lead in the second half with three quick baskets, increasing their lead to 24-18 and putting the Blackhawks in a tough spot. A hard Mason Gay drive through the middle of the Redman defense made it 24-20. An inside feed to Sherwood, put him at the line and he made a pair of free throws cutting the lead to two. After a long three put the Hawks down by four, Quinn Hatlestad took the ball coast-to-coast, after a Henke block, for two. On the next possession, Hatlestad then went into the post to power up a basket, tying it at 27-27. The Blackhawks defense then made plays as they took consecutive charges to force the Redmen into turnovers. The Redmen would continue to attack the hoop as they scored the next four, leading 31-27. Hatlestad then hit a pair of free throws, cutting the lead to two. The Blackhawks then grabbed the lead as Winston Poehler hit Hatlestad who toed up one from long distance making it 32-31. After Rib Lake scored five straight points, the Hawks battled back with a Poehler offensive putback and then, Senior Quinn Hatlestad dribbled up and nailed a top of the key three for the 37-36 lead with four minutes left. Gay followed that with a three of his own making it 40-36. Five straight points from Rib Lake put the Hawks down by one with two minutes left. Hatlestad then got held in the post and put in two free throws to give the Hawks the 42-41 lead. The Redmen answered with a jumper as the Hawks trailed by one again. After working some time, the Hawks had the ball with 19 seconds left and Mason Gay hit Quinn Hatlestad in the post off an inbound play. Hatlestad nailed a fade away jumper to grab a huge 44-43 lead. The Redman had the ball with 11 seconds left and after pushing it up the court, Mason Gay came up with the important steal and was fouled. Gay hit the first, but missed the second. Rib Lake's desperation shot with 2.2 seconds was off the mark and the Hawks won 45-43 to become Regional Champs.
Box Score: Hatlestad 16 pts; Henke 8; Gay 8; Sherwood 7; Poehler 4; Fritz 2.
Coach's Comments
We battled all night for this win. The guys kept their focus and were determined through some tough moments, but this team is all about mental toughness as they kept coming back. I am proud of these guys, they earned it.
Each player had moments in the game where they stepped up and made plays.