The Pine River-Backus Tigers saw their top three scorers combine for 42 points, but the team fell to the Nevis Tigers 54-52 in the Section 5A quarterfinals Monday, March 11.
"It was an outstanding high school basketball game by two teams who know each other extremely well," PR-B coach John Riewer said. "I really felt in my heart of hearts we were the better team, but they beat us fair and square two out of three times this year."
Nevis opened with a 7-0 run, but PR-B responded with an 8-0 run of their own. After a few quick lead changes, Nevis opened the game up with a series of 3-pointers, giving it a 10-point lead.
Pine River-Backus spent the rest of the half chipping away at that lead and went into halftime in a 27-24 deficit.
Nevis expanded the lead in the early moments of the second half, but two 3-pointers by PR-B's Brady Raph and a layup by Louis Bueckers gave them a 39-38 lead.
The two teams exchanged leads until the two-minute mark. With PR-B leading 50-48, an errant pass was intercepted by Nevis, who went in for the game-tying fastbreak layup.
Torry Hirschey of PR-b pulled the team ahead again on two made free throws, but a Nevis 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to play gave them a lead they would hold onto.
Hirschey led the team with 17 points, while Bueckers followed with 14. Both had six rebounds in the game.
Raph, held scoreless for the opening 17 minutes, finished the game with 11 points and three made 3-pointers.
"It has been a dream season," Riewer said. "I have learned so much from these kids, and I hope I taught them some life skills. I love Pine River-Backus - the school, the community, the people I work with - and I plan on being back next year, but we have a lot of work to do."
The Tigers finish the season with an overall record of 23-5.
Nevis 27 27-54
Pine River-Backus 24 28-52
Ty Warrington 3, Luke DeWulf 14, Derek Lindow 2, Eddie Kramer 15, Logan Funk 2, Michael Landquist 18. FG 21-45 (47 percent), FT 5-7 (71 percent). 3-point 7-21 (33 percent).
Champ Howard 5, Louis Bueckers 14, Brady Raph 11, Torry Hirschey 17, Evan Fenstermaker 2, Nathaniel Wosmek 3. FG 16-44 (36 percent), FT 10-12 (83 percent). 3-point 10-26 (39 percent). Overall: 23-5.