By Michael Wendlandt
For Zaleski Sports
WAUTOMA - Parker Prahl scored 19 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for the Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbirds as the top seed in the sectional continued their undefeated season, taking down the second-seeded Stratford Tigers 54-47 at Wautoma High School on Thursday evening.
The senior-dominated lineup for Iola-Scandinavia scored all 54 points in the game, with Kaden Jueds chipping in 13 and Brock Wester scoring 10.
Iola-Scandinavia (27-0) will now take on the top seed in the bottom half of the sectional in the Manitowoc Roncalli Jets (23-3), who got 56 points from senior Luke Pautz in an 85-61 win over Neenah St. Mary Catholic on Thursday. The winner of Saturday’s sectional final, which will be held at Appleton East High School at 1 p.m., moves on to next week’s WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Iola-Scandinavia led for most of the game, but could never pull away from a determined Stratford squad which erased multiple deficits to keep it close until late free throws created the seven-point margin.
Cade Brusewitz had a great start for Stratford (22-5), scoring its first five points and ended up with 12. Ashton Wrensch led the Tigers with 16 points, attacking the basket with ferocity and consistently finishing through contact to keep the Tigers within striking distance.
Going into the game, the story for both teams was their team defense and that was on display in the first half with Iola-Scandinavia taking a 25-20 lead behind Prahl’s 12 points, which included back-to-back 3-pointers to open up a six-point lead five minutes into the game.
The Thunderbirds also controlled the rebounding battle throughout the game, pulling down ten more than Stratford, 33-23.
Going into the second half it was Iola-Scandinavia which got started early with its inside duo of Jueds and Will Tappa. Jueds had 10 points in the second half, a large portion of which were assisted by Tappa, including a highlight reel behind the back pass that eventually found its target to create a late seven-point lead in the final two minutes. The Thunderbirds would finish off the win from there.
“That was an amazing game,” Iola-Scandinavia coach Sam Bertsch said. “I wouldn't expect anything different from a sectional semifinal. We had a couple games that we had to rely on our experience from earlier in the year to get us over the hump and we needed that tonight.”
Saturday's sectional final will be broadcast live at zaleskisports.com.
Thunderbirds 54, Tigers 47
Stratford 20 27 - 47
Iola-Scandinavia 25 29 - 54
STRATFORD (47): Braeden Schueller 1-6 0-0 2, Ashton Wrensch 8-15 0-0 16, Caden Bruesewitz 4-8 2-3 12, Devin Ulrich 0-1 0-0 0, Cam Daul 4-11 0-0 9, Kaden Griesmer 0-2 4-8 4, Brady Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Zack Seitz 1-2 2-2 4. FG: 18-45. FT: 8-13. 3-pointers: 3-18 (Bruesewitz 2-5, Daul 1-5, Griesmer 0-1, Wrensch 0-3, Schuller 0-4). Record: 22-5.
IOLA-SCANDINAVIA (54): Isaiah Hoyord 1-10 4-4 7, Parker Prahl 3-12 11-14 19, Parker Gullixon 0-0 0-0 0, Ian Koss 0-0 0-0 0, Kaden Jueds 6-11 1-1 13, Brock Wester 5-7 0-1 10, Will Tappa 2-4 1-2 5. FG: 17-44. FT: 17-22. 3-pointers: 3-13 (Prahl 2-8, Hoyord 1-5). Rebounds: 38 (Prahl 14). Record: 27-0.