SPASH & Amherst advance to State - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

SPASH & Amherst advance to State

SPASH & Amherst advance to State

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The top-ranked SPASH Panthers entered their Sectional final against the Appleton West Terrors today undefeated and exited the same way, defeating the Terrors, 86-49, to become Sectional champions yet again.

“We've been an outstanding team all year,” Panthers coach Scott Anderson said following his team's big win. “I feel like since the tournament hit, we maybe hit a second gear.”

Since the start of the Regional tournament, SPASH has outscored their opponents 419 to 217. But as much as their offense has played a key role in their success, the Panthers defense has been as equally vital, lending SPASH's talented scorers important extra opportunities on the other end of the court.

“Our defense triggers our offense,” Panthers senior forward Sam Houser said. “When we're really locked on defense that's when our offense really gets going.”

And SPASH really got it going today against Appleton West. The Panthers lead by 23 at halftime and never looked back.

“Everything was working,” Houser said. “Scoring, rebounding, pressuring on defense, getting steals...”

With today's victory, SPASH heads to Madison next week to compete for a Division I State title.

In Division 4, top-seeded Amherst defeated Marathon today, qualifying the Falcons for their second trip to Madison in four years.

The Falcons lead by eight at the half and held on to win, 47-38. The Red Raiders put up a fight, but were unable to defend against the likes of Amherst's Cam Gaulke, who led all scorers with 14 points.

With a 25-1 record overall, Falcons coach Scott Groholski is confident in his squad's chances in the State tournament.

“The kids have bought into our scheme and they do a great job,” Groholski said following Amherst's win today. “They work hard and do a great job."

The WIAA Boys State Basketball Championships begin Thursday, March 17 in Madison. All the action can be viewed live on WAOW.

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