UW-Washington County’s Men’s Basketball Team made school history by winning the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference State Championship on Sunday, February 25, 2018. The Wildcats went into the tournament (held at Wisconsin Dells), with a #1 ranking and an undefeated Eastern Division record of 16 - 0.
In the semi final match on Saturday, the team played UW-Baraboo, winning 91 – 79 and advancing to the final match on Sunday against UW-Sheboygan. The final game remained close until half way through the second half when the Wildcats pulled away winning 78 - 57.
According to head coach, Steve Murphy, “the Wildcats were up against a high-powered team from UW-Baraboo featuring a pair of first-team all-conference players, including the Western Division Player of the Year. Despite missing all 15 of their 3-point attempts, the Wildcats were able to penetrate both the zone and man-to-man defenses of UW-Baraboo for baskets and fouls. The switching up of their two full court zone presses created enough turnovers to result in some critical transition points that turned the game in Washington’s favor.”
For the championship game, UW-Sheboygan took an early lead. Instead of falling far behind, however, as they did in previous games, the Wildcats kept the early deficit closer this time and occasionally surged ahead. The first game-changer came in the closing possessions of the first half. Responding to a UW-Sheboygan 3-pointer to tie the score at 27 all, J. Braxton Thomas drilled a three pointer. Next, the Wildcats added another basket to take a 32-27 lead into the locker room at half time. The Wildcats raised the lead to over 10 points in the first few minutes of the second half, then bumped the lead to 20 points shortly after the 8-minute mark to play in the contest.
According to Murphy, “the Wildcats knew they were “no match for UW-Sheboygan’s superior size, with the three talented 6-8, 6-8 and 6-9 post players. Their strategy was to outnumber the guards, pressing 4 on 3. Generally, a three-quarters court zone pressing team, UW-WC came out of the locker room running a high-pressure man-to-man full court scramble defense that they had developed during the week of practice leading up to the game. The result was that it helped create 15 turnovers in the second half of the championship game. Unlike the previous day, three-pointers were falling for the Wildcats as they went 6-13 for 46% from distance.”
For more information about the athletic programs at UW-Washington County, contact Deb Butschlick, Athletic Director at (262)-335-5238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org UW-Washington County is located at 400 S. University Drive in West Bend. Visit the website, Washington.uwc.edu for more complete information or phone the Student Solution Center at 262-335-5201.
Front (L to R): Art Gerhardt (Asst. Coach), AJ Barnes, Adrian Huerta, Derrick Chaney, Ahmad Pender, Jr., J. Braxton Thomas, Trenton Walstra
Row 2: David Wiley, Jr., Mitchell Behm, Koy Walsh, Sam Krause, Ross Riegleman, Tariq Frett
Row 3: Hayden Steinhardt (Asst. Coach), Ben Brown (Manager), Steve Murphy (Head Coach), Jacob Steger (Asst. Coach)