JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN — For the second-straight season, DeForest and Stoughton met in the sectional finals at Craig High School. Saturday’s affair between the Norskies and Vikings was the fourth meeting between the two programs in the past two years. Although it was Stoughton who had won two of the last three, it was DeForest who won the game that mattered most, inching out a 41-39 victory on a last second shot in the 2012 sectional finals, clinching a birth in the WIAA State Tournament.
After a tight first quarter, Stoughton began to flex their muscles against the smaller DeForest squad. The Vikings pounded the ball inside and opened up a 10-point lead at the half. The Viking zone defense smothered the Norskies, holding them to just 16 points at the break.
DeForest continued to struggle in the third quarter, but managed to slowly chip away at Stoughton’s lead, trailing by five after three quarters. The Norskies finally got going in the fourth quarter, but just as they found their offense, so did Stoughton. The two teams traded baskets for much of the final quarter, until a few Viking miscues late, opened the door for the Norskies.
Trailing by one and 35 seconds to play, DeForest had the ball with a chance to win. As it did for the first three quarters, Stoughton’s defense took over again getting the stop. After two Viking free throws, DeForest had one last chance to tie, but the stingy Stoughton defense forced the Norskies into a desperation three, which fell short.
For the first time since 1939, Stoughton clinched a berth in the WIAA State Tournament with a 55-51 win over DeForest.
Jeff Berry – 2014 – SG – DeForest HS
5-11 – DeForest, WI
DeForest nearly pulled off an improbably comeback, in large part to Berry’s play in the fourth quarter. The junior was steady all game long, but took his play to another level, hitting on a number of tough shots to bring the Norskies back. Berry scored 14 points Saturday afternoon.
Nick McGlynn – 2015 – F – Stoughton HS
6-7 – Stoughton HS
McGlynn dominated right from the opening tip. The sophomore collected six early points and blocked a few shots early. McGlynn picked up his second foul early in the second quarter, forcing him to the bench for the remainder of the first half. In the second half, McGlynn picked up where he left off, converting just about every shot attempt from the field. When the Vikings needed a bucket most, they turned to McGlynn, who responded with 15 points to lead Stoughton.
Brett Minick – 2013 – G – DeForest HS
6-0 – DeForest, WI
Minick was doing just about anything he could down the stretch to help will DeForest to a comeback. The senior scored a game-high 16 points for the Norskies, and like Berry, came on in the fourth quarter.
Zach Bower – 2013 – F – Stoughton HS
6-2 – Stoughton, WI
One player who didn’t want a repeat of last year’s sectional final was Bower. The senior gave Stoughton an improbable 10 points in the first half, knocking down open shots and collecting offensive rebounds for put backs. Bower came into the game averaging just over five points per game, but finished the day with 13 points.
Note: Evan is a contributing editor for NY2LASPORTS.COM. He is also the football and basketball recruiting analyst for Badger247. Follow Evan on Twitter @Evan_Flood.