Amherst boys basketball team advances to State Tournament
High School boys
basketball team will look to win its first State Title in program history at
the WIAA Division 4 State Tournament at the Kohl Center
in Madison this
The sixth-ranked Falcons (25-1) beat Algoma (17-8) 42-27 in
the Sectional Semifinal at Green Bay Southwest Thursday, March 11, and then won
47-38 over 10th-ranked Marathon (22-4) in the Sectional Final at Appleton East
Saturday, March 13, to earn the team’s third trip to state.
Amherst is set to face fourth-ranked Cameron (25-0) in the
WIAA Division 4 State Semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, March 18, with the
winner to take on either top-ranked and four-time defending State Champion
Whitefish Bay Dominican (25-1) or La Crosse Aquinas (15-11) in the WIAA
Division 4 State Championship Game at approximately 12:45 p.m. Saturday, March
“It’s exciting,” said senior forward Tyler Biadasz. “But
we’re still getting down to business.
“We’re still planning on winning, and hopefully come back
with some hardware,” he said.
“It’s obviously a great accomplishment and experience for
us,” said third-year Amherst boys basketball head coach Scott Groholski. “We
felt we had it in us, but there’s a lot of things that have got to come
“You’ve got to get a little lucky and hit shots when you
need to, and hope the other team doesn’t,” he said. “And our route to getting
here, the teams that we have played we matched up well with, and we were able
to get some wins.”
The top-seeded Falcons opened the postseason with a 65-32
win over ninth-seeded Mishicot in the Regional Semifinals March 4, and then
beat fifth-seeded Iola-Scandinavia (17-8) 45-29 in the Regional Finals at home
March 5 to advance to the Sectional Semifinals last Thursday against Algoma.
There, the game was tied 9-9 with eight minutes left in the
first half, when Amherst went on a 9-2 run to take an 18-11 lead with 3:48 to
go, and went into halftime with a 25-16 lead.
The Falcons maintained a 29-22 lead with under seven minutes
to play in the game, when they went on a 13-0 run to extend their lead to 42-22
with just over two minutes left, and won 42-27 to advance to the Sectional
Finals, as Biadasz had 11 points and sophomore guard Colton Groholski added
“Every tournament game we’ve had, our defense has been just
lock down,” said coach Groholski. “We’re giving up 30 points a game, so if we
can give up 30, there’s probably a good chance we’re going to be able to score
31, I hope.
“Our defense has really stepped up,” he said.
The win set up a showdown with 10th-ranked and second-seeded
Marathon, which beat top-seeded Edgar (22-4)
46-43 in the Sectional Semifinals Wednesday, March 9.
Marathon got out to an early 7-6 lead Saturday night, but
Amherst responded with a 6-0 run to go up 12-7 and led the rest of the half, as
the Falcons went into intermission with a 23-15 lead.
Amherst outscored Marathon 16-9 to start the second half and
build a 39-24 lead with less than five minutes to play, as the Falcons went on
to a 47-38 win to advance to state for the third time, as senior forward Cam
Gaulke had 14 points, sophomore forward Mason Wideman scored 12, and Biadasz
“That’s another one of those games where we knew that it
would be a grinder,” said coach Groholski. “They’re very disciplined and
they’re not going to turn it over, and they play good ‘D’ as well, so we had to
be methodical and look for the shots that we wanted to get.
“They’re a really good team, well coached, but we just kind
of slowly built the lead and built the lead,” he said. “It was a well-played
game on our end.”
“It’s definitely a great feeling,” said Biadasz. “It’s been
a goal all season to get to the State Tournament and obviously win a gold ball.
“But getting there is the first step to it,” he said
In Madison, the Falcons are set to open against Cameron in
the State Semifinals Thursday night.
Cameron beat fifth-ranked Eau Claire Regis (23-3) 66-57 in
the Sectional Final to remain unbeaten, and is led this season by 6-6 senior
guard/forward and NCAA Division II Bemidji State recruit Peyton Dibble (25.7
points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists per game, 49.6 percent on three-pointers),
6-5 senior forward Max Verdegan (16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 49 percent on
three-pointers), 6-1 sophomore guard Gunner Wilder (10.5 points, 4.1 assists),
6-6 junior forward/center Josh Koenecke (5.4 points, 5.6 rebounds) and 5-11
senior guard Brady Schoenecker (5.4 points, 4.1 assists).
“They’re a really, really good team,” said coach Groholski.
“They’re athletic, they’re long, they’re going to match us in size, but their
bigs are a little bit different.
“They’ve got two 6-5 guys that are more like guards, they
shoot the three and play the perimeter, where our guys are inside,” he said.
“They play a 1-3-1 zone like Marathon, so it’ll be interesting.”
The winner will advance to the Division 4 State Championship
Game at 12:45 p.m. Saturday to take on either La Crosse Aquinas or Whitefish
Bay Dominican, which won the last four State Titles behind current NCAA
Division 1 University of Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone.
Dominican beat Howards Grove (22-5) 52-45 in the Sectional
Finals and is led by 6-11 senior forward Kostas Antetokounmpo (13 points, 7.1
rebounds), the sixth-ranked player in the state in the WisSports.net Class of
2016 Rankings and the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis
Antetokounmpo, 6-4 senior forward Michael Ferrici (11 points, 6.6 rebounds),
6-0 sophomore guard Gacoby Jones Jr. (10.9 points, 3.3 assists) and 6-8 junior
center Will Jelacic (8.4 points, 5.8 rebounds).
Aquinas beat Darlington (20-6) 50-49 in the Sectional
Finals, and is led this season by 6-5 senior guard Chris Ancius (13.5 points, 6
rebounds, 46.6 percent on three-pointers), 5-10 junior guard Eddie Harwick
(13.1 points), 6-0 sophomore guard Conley Malone (11.5 points, 41.1 percent on
three-pointers), 6-5 senior forward Alex Schulte (10.9 points, 4.5 rebounds)
and 6-0 senior guard Zach Phillips (10.2 points, 40.8 percent on
“We’ve been watching Dominican all year, we thought
Dominican would get there,” said coach Groholski of state. “Aquinas is really
good, (against third-ranked Melrose-Mindoro in the Sectional Semifinals) they
shot like 70 percent and lights out, so if they shoot like that, they’ll beat
“No matter who gets there, it’s going to be a tough, tough
out,” he said. “So if we’re lucky enough to get there, it’ll be fun. I’m just
hoping that we can get this next one, and get into that Championship Game.”
Meanwhile, the Falcons have won 17 games in a row following
a 65-53 loss at Auburndale Jan. 9, and is led by 6-4 senior forward and NCAA
Division 1 University of Wisconsin (UW) football recruit Biadasz (15.6 points,
7.4 rebounds), 6-7 senior forward Gaulke (10.6, 5.8 rebounds), 6-1 senior guard
and UW football walk-on Garrett Groshek (8.5 points, 4.3
rebounds, 3.9 assists), 6-0 senior guard Amaziah McCall (8.3 points, 41.1
percent on three-pointers) and 6-1 sophomore guard Colton Groholski (4.7
“We made some adjustments out of Auburndale, we really got
in a lot of foul trouble in that game, and so we did some things to our defense
to be a little less aggressive and try to keep guys in front of us,” said coach
Groholski. “Defensively, we’ve been really good.
“We’ve been a little up and down with our offense, sometimes
we can hit shots, sometimes we can’t,” he said. “But what’s been steady is
Tyler and Cameron (Gaulke).”
“We want to prove ourselves defensively every game,” said
Groshek. “And especially after Auburndale, when you put a team on the line 47
times, you’re not looking too good.
“And that’s something that we focused on is, ‘make sure we
don’t foul, play sound defense,’ and it’s been carrying us for the most part,”
he said. “As you can see, we’re football players, and sometimes putting it in
the hoop is a struggle for us, but ‘D-ing up’ and having pride is something
that we’ve never struggled with.”
Amherst, which won the WIAA Division 5 State Title in
football in November, will look to win its first State Title in basketball after
it advanced to Madison in 1998 and 2013, when this season’s seniors were
“This senior class has been playing basketball together
since third and fourth grade, so we’ve got the chemistry part of it down,” said
McCall. “We all know what we’re good at in our roles, and I think it really
helps us out.
“We all mesh well together,” he said. “We’ve just got to
play our game and stay focused, play defense, and just limit our turnovers,
take care of the ball and I think we’ll be all right.”
“I know me and Tyler have probably put a little more time
into football than basketball, but we’ve done our time, we’ve worked,” said
Groshek. “You can’t grow a great mullet in one day, and you can’t win
championships in one day.
“We’ve been working for this since we started playing
basketball in fourth grade,” he said. “And now we get to end it back at Madison