SCC boys basketball knocked out of playoffs by Northwestern
Despite making a late run, the St. Croix Central Panthers boys basketball team fell to the Northwestern Tigers 57-49 in the opening round of the WIAA Division 3 boys basketball playoffs on Feb. 25, in Maple.
The Panthers trailed by four after the first quarter and were able to keep things close heading into halftime, trailing 33-28.
The third quarter hit SCC hardest when the Panthers were outscored 13-5, allowing the Tigers to extend their lead to 13 by the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers cut Northwestern’s lead to eight with a 16-11 run in the final frame.
Coach Zach Turpin said it was tough to go that far on the road and lose, but he was proud of the fight put up by the Panthers.
“I felt like we played really hard,” Turpin said. “The effort was outstanding all night. There were stretches we played really well. Northwestern is a pretty good team. We have nothing to hang our heads about.”
St. Croix Central’s offense was led by Evan Nielsen (13 points, five assists, three steals) and Josh Albright (11 points, six rebounds). Doug Cottrell pulled down four rebounds to pace the Panther’s on the boards, while also leading the team in blocks with three.
Northwestern was led on offense by three players in double digits, including Trevor Paulus (21 points), Nate Pearson (13 points) and Brayden Bartelt (11 points).
SCC finished the season with a 3-18 overall record and a 3-13 Dunn-St. Croix Conference record.
Turpin said while the Panther boys’ win-loss record is disappointing, he thinks the young team stepped up and played well, especially at the end of the season.
“With a really good offseason, we can turn the record around quite a bit,” Turpin said.
Five seniors will graduate this year, including DJ Holland, Dante Carlson, Mark Jacobson, Zac Davenport and Cody Weismann.
“We are losing a few seniors, but much of the team is coming back next year, and we have a lot to build on,” Turpin said. “I want to thank all the supporters and the seniors for four years of dedication.”
Compiled by Jordan Willi and Sarah Young