Hounded by defenders all game, Adam Hobson weaved around picks in an effort to find openings in the DeForest defense.
Clean looks were rare, but the Stoughton senior still had a night to remember in hopes of extending his high school career by at least one more game.
The Norskies also executed offensively, outlasting Hobson and the Vikings 66-57 in the Division 2 Oregon Sectional semifinal on Thursday, March 12, at McFarland High School.
Hobson poured in 25 of his game-high 39 points in the second half.
“I came in knowing this could be my last game,” he said. “I wanted to do whatever I could to get us another game. I felt good in warmups and gained more confidence when the ball started to go in.”
Stoughton (21-4), the top seed in the top half of the sectional, scored on its first three possessions of the second half. Junior Cael McGee slammed a dunk through contact and converted the three-point play to cut the Vikings’ deficit to 37-27.
Stoughton coach Nolan Weber switched to a man-to-man defense after Hobson’s third 3-pointer cut it to 46-34 with 12:30 left, and the move took DeForest out of its halfcourt offense for several minutes.
Hobson drilled back-to-back 3s and drove hard for two layups off glass to trim the deficit to 53-50 with 4:50 left. The third-seeded Norskies (19-6) answered with a 7-0 run to push their lead back to double digits.
Hobson scored four straight points to cut it to 60-54, but DeForest successfully navigated Stoughton’s press and made 4 of 6 free throws in the final 1:12 to salt the victory.
DeForest carved up Stoughton’s 1-3-1 zone early on. The Norskies reeled off a 10-2 run after McGee sank a jumper to start the game, a strong start for a team the Vikings beat 75-61 in the Badger Challenge on Jan. 25.
“They did some different things offensively, but their biggest adjustment was how they guarded Adam and Cael,” Weber said. “They also took away some of our other guys that had open areas to work in the first meeting.”
McGee picked up his second foul with 10:18 left in the first half and finished with seven points, but Hobson kept the Vikings close. He scored Stoughton’s last nine points of the half, including a 3 from the top of the key to cut it to 22-20 with three minutes left in the half.
DeForest recovered and closed the half on a 12-0 run to lead 34-20 at the break. Senior Jahyl Bonds finished with a team-high 16 points, while sophomore Max Weisbrod and senior Trey Schroeder added 15 points apiece. Sophomore Deven Magli gave the Norskies four players in double figures with 12 points.
DeForest advanced but never got the chance to play Elkhorn for the sectional title. Three hours after the Norskies beat the Vikings, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association canceled the remainder of the State Girls Basketball Tournament, and the boys basketball sectional finals and State Tournament, due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.