Wisconsin Lutheran over Monroe for D2 title
During a timeout in the first quarter of the WIAA Division 2 title game Saturday, Wisconsin Lutheran coach Ryan Walz asked the same question of each of his players: Do you have an offensive rebound?
The message was clear.
"How are we going to win the game when our bigs don't even rebound? We had to crash the boards harder," junior forward Flavien Davis said.
Davis and the Vikings did just that, overcoming a sluggish start to claim the school's first boys state basketball championship with a 79-67 victory over Monroe.
Davis had 29 points and 15 rebounds, leading four Vikings in double figures. He had scored 24 points with seven boards in a semifinal win over Maple Northwestern on Friday.
The 6-foot-4 junior keyed a 38-22 edge on the glass for Wisconsin Lutheran (24-2) against the Cheesemakers (19-8).
"He's the real deal," Monroe coach Pat Murphy said. "He obviously wants to showcase something, and he's done that for two games. Big-time players like the big stage."
Mitch Tordoff scored 33 points to lead the Cheesemakers, as the senior guard set a slew of Division 2 records. He tied former teammate Brett Stangel for most points in a game, and his 61 points over two games established a new mark. He also set Division 2 records for 3-pointers made and attempted, going 8-of-17 from beyond the arc, and Monroe set a team record by making 12 3-pointers.
"Mitch Tordoff is one of the best point guards in the state. You cannot measure that kid's heart, his grit and his determination," said Walz, who saw Tordoff knock down a few shots from several feet beyond the arc. "Some of the shots he hit were unbelievable."
Senior guard P.J. Marion added 17 points for the Vikings, who closed the third period on a 15-5 run to break a 38-38 tie and take control.
Wisconsin Lutheran pushed the lead to as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, and Monroe could not pull any closer than six in the final period.
Marion was 6-of-9 from the floor and had a game-high six assists.
"That's the best I've ever seen him play. He played a great game," Walz said. "When his confidence is there, he can play with the best of them, and he got after it today. We needed it."
Monroe took a 17-9 lead after one quarter, but the Vikings answered quickly in the second period. Wisconsin Lutheran tied the game with an 11-3 run to start the quarter, and enjoyed a 25-12 edge during the period.
Andrew Rumler had 12 points and Tim Rotruck 11 for the Vikings, who shot 58 percent (29-of-50) from the floor.
Jake Grinnell had 17 points and Bryan Tordoff 12 for the Cheesemakers.