SPASH wins second consecutive State Title
The Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) boys
basketball team capped a dominating run and an unbeaten season with its second
consecutive WIAA Division 1 State Title at the Kohl Center
Saturday, March 19.
The top-ranked and defending State Champion Panthers rolled
to a 75-48 win over fourth-ranked Sheboygan North (24-3) in the State Semifinals
Friday, March 18, and then built a 30-point lead late in the second half of
their 89-64 win over seventh-ranked Muskego (23-5) in the State Championship
Game Saturday, to finish with a 28-0 record and bring home another State Title.
“It’s just unbelievable,” said senior guard Jamison Kryshak.
“I know we did it last year, but there’s nothing that can relate to this
feeling. It’s just amazing.”
“It just felt great, because it showed all of our hard work
actually pays off,” said senior forward Evan Mallek. “We’ve been working for
this for a really long time, and it just feels good to finally make it happen.”
After beating its opponents by an average of 25.2 points per
game last season on the way to a 27-1 season and the 2015 WIAA Division 1 State
Title, SPASH outscored its opponents by 34.1 points per game this season, as it
carried a 26-0 record into the State Tournament last weekend.
The Panthers opened with Sheboygan North Friday night in the
State Semifinals, where they used a three-pointer from Kryshak and back-to-back
layups from sophomore forward Joey Hauser and senior guard Ted Kearney to take
a 7-0 lead 1:30 into the game.
North was able to hang close early and was within 17-13 with
6:17 left in the first half, when SPASH used a 12-5 run, capped by a jumper
from senior point guard Trev Anderson with six seconds left in the first half,
to take a 29-18 lead into halftime.
“It was a little bit of a slow start for us offensively, and
I thought we were very good defensively for the first half,” said SPASH boys
basketball head coach Scott Anderson. “We shoot the ball pretty well from a lot
of spots, so we don’t see a ton of zone, and they did a nice job in their zone.”
“The first half they played really good defense,” said Joey
Hauser. “But I think at halftime we did a good job, talking about what’s going
to kind of open it up and get us some good looks at the hoop.”
The Panthers opened the second half with a layup from senior
forward Sam Hauser, a three-pointer from Kryshak and back-to-back
three-pointers from Joey Hauser to break open the game with an 11-2 run that
gave the team a 40-20 lead with
to play in the second half.
North got no closer than 40-25 with 13:39 remaining, when
SPASH countered with a 15-4 run to go up 55-29 on a three-pointer from Sam
Hauser with 8:12 left, while the Panthers led by 36 at 71-35 with under four
minutes to play when they pulled their starters, and went on to a 75-48 victory
to advance to the State Championship Game.
“That’s obviously a dream for everyone,” said Trev Anderson.
“You want to get to that State Championship, and for us to do that last year
and now again this year, not many people get to say they can do that.
“We have a really good opportunity in front of us tomorrow,
and I think if we play our game, play the right way and keep sharing it and
knocking down shots, I think it’s looking pretty good for us,” he said.
Trev Anderson finished with 23 points and five assists; Joey
Hauser had 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists; and Sam Hauser totaled 14
points, 11 rebounds, five assists and six blocks, while the SPASH defense
limited North to 27.9 percent shooting from the field (17-of-61).
“We get a lot of notoriety with our 83 points a game, and
that we’ve got very good offensive players,” said coach Anderson. “But a staple
of our program is, we play tremendous defense.
“And I thought we did again tonight,” he said.
The win set up a showdown in the State Championship Game
with Muskego, which beat fifth-ranked Milwaukee Marquette (23-4) 62-54 in the
other State Semifinal Friday night.
Saturday night was the second meeting between SPASH and Muskego this season,
after the Panthers beat Muskego
81-56 at the Sentry Classic at Bennett
Court at Quandt Fieldhouse Dec. 28.
“We knew we beat them, but they were going to come back
hungry,” said Kearney.
“It was the State Championship Game, we had to put our best foot forward to try
and beat them.”
“We’re a pretty senior-heavy team, and we’ve been playing
together for seven, eight years now,” said Trev Anderson. “It’s our last game
together, we want to go out with a bang, and we want to play our best
Muskego carried a 12-game win streak into the State
Championship Game, where it used a jumper from senior forward Matty Farner and
a three-pointer from senior guard Tommy Anderson to take a 5-0 lead 2:02 into
“Everyone’s amped up, they’re going to make some shots to
start, you’ve just kind of got to weather the storm for a little bit,” said Sam
Hauser. “And then once we got going and got in a rhythm, it was just on from
“Weather the storm until you create the storm,” said coach
Anderson. “And these guys created quite a storm there, after they got those
first couple of buckets.
“Then our guys buckled in on both ends, and were special,”
SPASH answered with a layup from Kearney, a jumper from Trev
Anderson, a three-pointer from Joey Hauser and back-to-back layups from Trev
Anderson and Sam Hauser to go on an 11-0 run over the next and take an 11-5 lead with 1 left in the first half.
The Panthers maintained a 17-10 lead with 9:03 to play in
the half, when it used eight points from Sam Hauser to make a 15-2 run that
gave the team a 32-13 lead with 4:45 left in the opening half, while Trev
Anderson knocked down a jumper with five seconds remaining in the half to give
SPASH a 41-21 lead at intermission.
After Joey Hauser threw down a one-handed, highlight-reel
dunk Friday night, it was his older brother’s turn early in the second half
The Panthers led 49-31 with 14:12 left, when Joey Hauser
inbounded the ball from the baseline behind the team’s basket and tossed an
alley-oop to Sam Hauser, who threw down a two-handed dunk to give the team a
“I wasn’t going to let him out-do me,” said Sam Hauser. “His
was awesome on Friday night, honestly like a minute before that one happened,
he goes, ‘we’ve got to get a dunk,’ and then it happened.
“And then Saturday night, usually Joey’s the one catching
the oop, but I insisted on getting that one, last game, and it worked out,” he
said. “He threw a great pass and I threw it down.”
The Panthers held a 56-38 advantage just over two minutes
later, when sophomore guard Drew Blair came off the bench and delivered the
knockout blow, as he buried a three-pointer on three consecutive possessions to
push the team’s lead to 27 at 65-38 with 10:19 left.
SPASH led 78-50 with 4:13 remaining when it began to pull
its starters, and led by as many as 30 at 85-55 with 1:50 to go, while its
senior class spent the last few minutes on the bench together watching the
final moments of an 89-64 victory that closed out a perfect season and the
team’s second consecutive State Title.
“It’s just really special, and not many people can say they
have two,” said Joey Hauser. “And with the group of guys we have, it makes it
even more special.
“They’re all my best friends, every single one of them, and
that’s something you don’t see every day,” he said. “I’m so glad I’m a part of
“It’s just a great feeling, knowing we were all together
since fourth, fifth grade,” said Kearney.
“And all of the seniors, we know how special it is to go out on top like this.”
Sam Hauser finished with 23 points and eight rebounds, Trev
Anderson shot 7-of-9 from the field and had 20 points and four assists and Joey
Hauser added 13 points and three steals, while Blair was 3-of-3 from
three-point range and had 11 points and Kryshak was 3-of-4 from three-point
range and added nine points in the win.
“Ever since we started playing together, coach has been
preaching that since Day One, sharing the ball,” said Sam Hauser. “Just finding
a guy when he’s hot.
“Like Drew Blair tonight, we found him when he hit three
threes in a row, Jamison Kryshak hit three threes,” he said. “Sharing the ball
is just a key.”
The State Championship Game was SPASH’s 25th win this season
by 23 points or more, and its 37th consecutive win dating back to last season.
The State Title was the fifth in program history, and the
Panthers became the 10th team in the history of the state’s top division to win
consecutive State Championships.
“It’s been a magical journey with this group,” said coach
Anderson. “Not only the last couple of years that a lot of the people across
the state have seen, but I’ve been with them since they were in fourth grade.
“We brought this team together and started coaching them,
myself and (assistant) coach (Dave) Hauser, and they’ve been a great basketball
team and great basketball players, and even better young men to be around,” he
said. “We asked them to try and be at their best tonight, and that’s always
tough to judge.
“But if it wasn’t our best, it was close to our best, for
this stage and in this situation in a State Championship Game,” he said. “So
I’m extremely proud.”
“We were talking on the ride home (after the game), you go
back to fourth or fifth grade and go, ‘these guys are pretty good, I wonder if
it’ll ever come out at the end?” said coach Hauser, Sam and Joey’s father.
“Just because you’re good when you’re younger, it doesn’t mean you’re going to
be good when you’re older.
“But we knew we were going to be decent, because Scott
taught everybody all the fundamentals, and it was like, ‘could you actually
write the book and the ending, and have it come out that way?’” he said. “And
that’s kind of what happened.
“And I’m just so happy as a coach, as a friend of Scott, as
a dad, just watching your son being able to experience what he did at this
point of his life,” he said. “Obviously the feelings are incredible.”