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Updated: Mar 13, 2022

Dominic Croci and Joe Anderson

Zaleski Sports

PARK FALLS – A late free throw by Tony Cummings sent Hurley to the state tournament as the Northstars outlasted Athens 41-38 in a WIAA Division 5 boys basketball sectional final Saturday afternoon at Chequamegon High School.

Hurley (24-4) advances to its first state tournament since 1949, where it will play a Division 5 semifinal Friday morning. Hurley will play Bangor in a Division 5 semifinal Friday at 10:45 a.m. at the 2022 WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament, which will be held Thursday-Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison.

The game was tight throughout as neither team could build more than a two-possession lead.

Cummings scored inside in the closing seconds of first half to tie it 20-20 for Hurley.

Hurley started the second half on a 7-2 run before Athens responded to tie the game again at 29-29, sparked by a 3-pointer from Cooper Diedrich after a long scoring drought.

Both teams exchanged baskets with the game ending up tied again at 38-38 in the final minute.

Following an Athens timeout with 21 seconds left, Hurley stole the inbounds pass, called a timeout of its own, and Cummings was fouled going to the basket with 5.3 seconds remaining. He made the first and Kody Lepak rebounded the miss on the second for the Bluejays.

Hurley had one foul to give and fouled Lepak immediately. Eli Talsma then stole the inbounds pass again and dunked at the buzzer to finish off a three-point win for the Northstars.

Diedrich finished with 21 points and Lepak added 13 for Athens, which finishes the season 22-7.

Dominic Croci topped Hurley with 14 points.

Northstars 41, Bluejays 38

Athens 20 18 - 38

Hurley 20 21 - 41

ATHENS (38): Connor Sheahan 1 0-0 2, Cooper Diedrich 9 2-3 21, Evan Guralski 0 0-0 0, Kody Lepak 4 2-5 13, Aiden Janke 1 0-0 2. FG: 15. FT: 4-8. 3-pointers: 4 (Lepak 3, Diedrich 1). Fouls: 13. Fouled out: Diedrich. Record: 22-7.

HURLEY (41): Matt DiGiorgio 0 2-2 2, Eli Talsma 5 0-1 10, Dominic Croci 5 3-3 14, Tony Cummings 2 2-4 6, Braxton Sbraacia 4 1-2 9. FG: 16. FT: 8-12. 3-pointers: 1 (Croci 1). Fouls: 12. Fouled out: none. Record: 24-4.

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