Whitewater advances to men's WIAC title game
On top of playing their fourth game in seven days, the Warhawks took the floor against UW-Superior without starters Rob Perry, Matt Goodwin and Janesville Craig graduate Josh King.
Despite all that misfortune, Whitewater is still standing—barely.
Myles McKay’s two technical free throws with 54 seconds left in overtime sealed another gut-wrenching win for top-seeded Whitewater, 77-73 over No. 5 seed Superior in a WIAC semifinal tournament game Wednesday night at Kachel Gym.
With the victory, the Warhawks host the championship game Saturday against No. 3 UW-Stevens Point at 3 or 7 p.m.
The Pointers earned their spot in the title game by cruising past No. 6 Eau Claire, 88-65.
Championship game aside, just getting past Superior was hard enough.
“Those are two tired teams there,” Whitewater coach Pat Miller said of the Warhawks and Yellowjackets. “There is no question that these games have taken a lot out of us.”
The tired Warhawks may have to gut it out again Saturday with Perry definitely out, and Goodwin (concussion) and King (back) uncertain.
Whitewater, however, keeps finding other players to carry the load.
McKay and Kori Vernon led the way with 22 and 16 points respectively, while Billy Kolinske had 13, and reserve guard Cory Brezovar added 11
“Obviously with some of the lineups out there, we didn’t have a lot of chemistry,” Miller said. “But I was proud of guys like Brezovar stepping up and hitting some big shots in the first half.”
While the Warhawks did their share, a key Superior mistake did the most damage.
The Yellowjackets carelessly called for a timeout when they didn’t have any left and were charged a technical foul with 57 seconds remaining in the overtime.
McKay promptly drained both technical free throws, putting Whitewater up 73-69.
“Our play was designed for Dwight (Hill) to use the ball screen to go to his right and attack the basket, but Dwight went the other way and called time out, thinking that we had one,” Superior coach David Buchanan said. “I told Dwight we win together and we lose together, and we are a basketball family.”
The Yellowjackets withstood their mental lapse and made a final run at Whitewater.
A Dan Culy layup and a missed front-end free throw by Kevin Koski gave Superior a chance to tie with 44 seconds to play.
The Yellowjackets then ran the clock down to 17 seconds before Hill missed a long three-pointer that was rebounded by Kolinske. Superior immediately fouled Kolinske, who sank both free throws to put the game out of reach.
“We come here and play one of the best team’s in the nation, and we had our chances,” Buchanan said. “So we walk out of here with our heads high.”
Jake Smith paced the Yellowjackets with 21 points, while Hill had 18, and Culy scored 13.
WHITEWATER 77, SUPERIOR 73 (OT)
Superior (73)—Culy 6-12 0-0 13, Hill 8-14 2-5 18, Manor 4-7 0-0 9, Smith 8-17 4-4 21, Lindberg 2-2 0-0 4, Headley 3-4 0-0 6, Byrns 0-3 2-2 2. Totals: 31-59 8-11 73.
Whitewater (77)—Negri 2-4 0-0 5, McKay 6-15 6-6 22, Koski 2-7 0-1 4, Vernon 8-17 0-0 16, Kolinske 4-8 5-9 13, Hunter 1-2 0-0 2, Mitchell 2-2 0-0 4, Brezovar 3-6 2-2 11. Totals: 28-61 13-18 77.
UW-Superior 30 34 9—73
UW-Whitewater 35 29 13—77
Three-point goals—Superior 3-15 (Culy 1-5, Hill 0-3, Manor 1-3, Smith 1-1, Headley 0-1, Byrns 0-2), Whitewater 8-18 (Negri 1-2, Myles 4-9, Koski 0-1, Kolinske 0-1, Brezovar 3-5). Fouled out—Manor. Rebounds—Superior 22 (Culy, Smith 6), Whitewater 41 (Kolinske 11). Assists—Superior 18 (Hill 8), Whitewater 14 (Koski 7). Total fouls—Superior 19, Whitewater 16.