Boys basketball UPDATE: Vikings make state for first time since 1939

Stoughton gets revenge from last year's sectional final with 55-51 win over DeForest
By: 
Anthony Iozzo

The Stoughton boys basketball team celebrates with its fans after a 55-51 win over DeForest Saturday in the WIAA Division 2 sectional final at Janesville Craig High School. Stoughton is going to state for the first time since 1939. [Photo by Anthony Iozzo]

Head coach Matt Hockett leapt into the arms of several Stoughton boys basketball players Saturday as the student section stromed the court to celebrate a 55-51 win over DeForest in the WIAA Division 2 sectional final at Janesville Craig High School. 

The Vikings (17-8) not only avenged last year's defeat to DeForest in the sectional final but also ended a 74-year drought by earning their first state berth since 1939. However, it wasn't easy. 

Nightmares from last season nearly came true after an errant pass gave the Norskies the ball with 30 seconds left, leading by just one point. DeForest drove to the basket, but Stoughton wasn't about to go down with a final shot again. Sophomore forward Nick McGlynn and the rest of the Stoughton defense clamped down, with McGlynn finishing with a block that ended up in senior guard Shane Rowley's hands. 

Rowley hit three of four at the free-throw line to seal the win, and history was made as the Stoughton student section rumbled the gym with the chants, "I believe that we have won." 

Stoughton did lead by 10 points at halftime, and it built its lead to 13 two minutes into the third with a 3-pointer by senior guard Zach Bower. But the Norskies weren't going away. 

Deforest senior Allen Castillo hit a 3-pointerwith under a minute to go into the third, while senior Brett Minick was fouled. Minick went to the line, as the Norskies were in the 1-and-1 bonus, and knocked down two free throws to cut Stoughton's lead to just five. 

Stoughton and DeForest exchanged a couple of baskets in the fourth, led by senior forward Zach Krueger and sophomore Brady Brusegar combining for the first seven points of the quarter. 

However, DeForest was in the bonus and knocked down seven of nine while Stoughton missed the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunities that helped DeForest cut the lead to just one. But that was as close as DeForest was going to get. 

The first quarter was much like the fourth, with both teams exchanging baskets. Stoughton led 13-12 after one, and it built its lead in the second by holding DeForest to four points. 

The Vikings were led by McGlynn with 16 points, while Bower added 10. Brusegar and Krueger came close to double digits with nine and eight points, respectively. 

Stoughton plays in the state semifinal at 1:35 p.m. Friday against Wisconsin Lutheran (23-3) at the Kohl Center in Madison. Stoughton has won 14 of its last 15 games. 

For a complete story and more photos, check out the Mar. 7 issue of the Courier Hub.