For the second time in three years, the Stoughton boys basketball team won a regional title and advanced to the sectional.
Senior Adam Hobson eclipsed 1,000 career points to help the Vikings pull out a 53-45 home win over Reedsburg in a Division 2 regional championship on Saturday, March 7.
“As a little kid, that has always been a dream,” Hobson said. “It definitely wasn’t even close to one of my top goals this year. We are knocking off our goals as we are going and we have a lot more to do. We are looking to make that next step and get that next win in the sectional semis.”
The Vikings were coming off a 53-45 home win over Badger South Conference rival Monona Grove in the regional semifinals on Friday, March 6.
Top-seeded Stoughton (21-3), ranked fifth in the final Division 2 Associated Press state poll, earned a rematch against third-seeded DeForest (18-6) in the sectional semifinals on Thursday, March 12, at McFarland High School. The Vikings knocked off the Norskies 75-61 in the Badger Challenge on Jan. 25.
Stoughton 53, Reedsburg 45
The much-taller Vikings pounded the ball inside and cranked up their defense in the second half to top the fourth-seeded Beavers.
“We knew we were going to have an advantage around the rim,” Stoughton coach Nolan Weber said. “We are not always great at finishing. We really made a concerted effort in the second half to really pound it into the post. Our game plan went the way we hoped it would.”
The Vikings used a 30-18 run in the second half to break the game open. Hobson and junior Cael McGee fed the ball inside to Sproul and sophomore Barrett Nelson to capitalize on their size. McGee scored seven of his nine points during the surge, including a dunk on the break.
Nathan Hutcherson knocked down a 3 to give the Vikings a 40-34 lead with 7:27 left in the game. McGee hit two free throws after his dunk to extend the lead to 51-40 with 1:48 remaining.
“Anyone on the court could have scored in the post,” Sproul said. “We were just bigger and stronger than them.”
Hutcherson and Hobson each scored a team-high 14 points. Sproul added 10 points.
“He stepped up and hit some big shots,” Weber said of Hutcherson. “He’s a senior and he doesn’t want it to end.”
Hutcherson hit three 3s, two coming in the second half.
“In my head, I just have to stay confident and know I can shoot it,” Hutcherson said. “I know my full abilities. My teammates picked me up and I know my boys have my back.”
The Vikings limited the Beavers to 19% (4 of 21) shooting from 3-point range. Reedsburg senior Will Fuhrmann scored a game-high 17 points and hit three 3s.
“Even though they are small, they are tough and very experienced,” Weber said. “For us to match that toughness was a big step. Reedsburg was probably one win away from being a No. 1 or 2 seed.”
Fuhrmann had the hot hand early on, as he hit a 3 to help Reedsburg take a 13-8 lead with 10:35 left in the first half. Fuhrmann scored 12 points in the first half to help the Beavers take a 22-21 lead at the break.
“There is nothing he (Fuhrmann) doesn’t do well,” Weber said. “We know he was going to get his 15 to 20 (points). We had to limit the other guys.”
Stoughton 53, Monona Grove 45
McGee scored a team-high 13 points and the Vikings bottled up the Silver Eagles with suffocating defense.
Stoughton led 24-17 at halftime and held on in the second half. Sophomore Luke Fernholz added 11 points and Hutcherson chipped in nine points. Junior Konner Knauf pitched in eight.