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Panthers eliminated on buzzer-beater, 60-58

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sports New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

That many fans were saying it was one of the best games they'd ever witnessed was little solace to the St. Croix Central boys basketball team last Thursday.

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In the second round of WIAA Division 3 regionals, Central and Spring Valley locked into one of the closest, most action-packed thrill rides seen around the Dunn-St. Croix county border towns in many years.

It came down to which team had the ball last. Central hit a free throw with 4.2 seconds left to take a 58-57 lead. But 4.2 seconds proved to be too many. Spring Valley's Tyler Bosshart raced the ball upcourt and launched a three-pointer that sailed through the air as the final horn sounded. The shot swished through, giving Spring Valley a 60-58 win and knocking the Panthers out of the 2008 playoffs.

Central's boys finish the season with a 17-5 record. Three of their five losses came against Spring Valley, the Dunn-St. Croix Conference champion.

There was never a significant lead for either team in this game. In its two losses to Spring Valley this season, the Panthers thought they had played their worst games of the season. They were prepared to put forth a much better showing this time, and they did.

"Both teams played extremely well and extremely hard," said Central coach Mike Fern. "The shooting was outstanding both ways."

Bosshart and Central's Jeff Fern traded hoops for most of the night. Bosshart finished with 24 points and Fern scored 22 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. Fern hit six shots from beyond the three-point arc during the game.

Tony Wiersgalla also shot accurately from the perimeter for the Panthers, with all 12 of his points coming on three-point shots.

Spring Valley led the game 16-12 after a quarter. The game was tied at halftime 30-30, with Jeff Fern sinking a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer. The Cards led 45-44 entering the fourth quarter. Spring Valley led by as many as five in the fourth quarter. Central then rallied and was able to take a 58-57 lead with 4.2 seconds left.

Coach Fern had high praise for his group of seniors, who have stuck together since youth ball.

"We had a heckuva season and these kids deserve it," he said. "This is one of the hardest working groups I've had and they're good kids on and off the court."

Win over SCF

The Panthers had little trouble dispatching St. Croix Falls in the opening round of Division 3 play last Tuesday, 59-41.

The Panthers took the lead in the first quarter when they outscored the Saints 11-5. The game broke open when Central tallied 24 points in the third quarter.

The Saints were a much taller team than Central, but the five-guard pack of Panthers played relentlessly.

Central had good scoring balance, led by Jeff Fern's 14 points. That included going 10-10 at the free throw line.

Wiersgalla came out of a recent offensive slump, scoring 13 points. Jeff Fern scored 11 points.

"We were a little more skilled and we played very well," Coach Fern said of the win.

St. Croix Central 59,

St. Croix Falls 41

ST. CROIX FALLS (41)

(FG-FT-FTA-PTS)

Larcom 1 1-2 3, Vold 1 0-0 3, Roach 1 0-0 3, Chinander 2 0-0 5, Anderson 1 0-1 2, Larcom 0 1-2 1, Larson 6 1-1 13, Lund 0 1-2 1, Kadrmas 4 2-3 10. Totals 16 6-11 41.

ST. CROIX CENTRAL (59)

Brown 1 0-0 2, Je.Fern 4 2-2 11, Tilton 1 1-2 3, Ja.Fern 2 10-10 14, Fedie 2 0-0 5, Hartung 1 0-0 2, Wiersgalla 5 2-2 13, Butler 1 1-1 3, Aldworth 2 0-0 4, Thbani 0 0-0 0, Cress 1 0-1 2, Juen 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 16-18 59.

St. Croix Falls 5 10 15 11 41

St. Croix Central 11 11 24 13 59

Three-point goals -- Vold, Roach, Chinander, Je.Fern, Fedie, Wiersgalla. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- St. Croix Falls 13, St. Croix Central 11.

Spring Valley 60,

St. Croix Central 58

ST. CROIX CENTRAL (58)

(FG-FT-FTA-PTS)

Brown 0 0-0 0, Je.Fern 8 0-0 22, Tilton 4 0-1 8, Ja.Fern 1 4-7 6, Fedie 3 0-0 8, Wiersgalla 4 0-0 12, Butler 1 0-1 2, Aldworth 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 4-9 58.

SPRING VALLEY (60)

Bosshart 8 3-4 24, Blaedorn 4 0-0 9, D.Webster 2 0-0 5, M.Webster 4 1-2 11, Ingli 5 1-2 11. Totals 23 5-8 60.

St. Croix Central 12 18 14 14 58

Spring Valley 16 14 15 15 60

Three-point goals -- Je.Fern 6, Fedie 2, Wiersgalla 4, Bosshart 5, Blaedorn, D.Webster, M.Webster 2. Fouled out -- none. Total fouls -- St. Croix Central 10, Spring Valley 12.

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