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Marshfield's Luke LeMoine scores inside during the first half of the Tigers' loss to Kimberly in a WIAA Division 1 boys basketball regional final Saturday at Marshfield High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker

Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield boys basketball team played perhaps its best game of the season in a regional semifinal victory over D.C. Everest on Friday night, and carried that into Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 regional final against Kimberly.

The Tigers led for most of the first half and was up by seven with just under 14 minutes remaining, but couldn’t maintain their high level of play.

Kimberly used a 10-0 run to pull ahead and held off two Marshfield runs to win 70-60 at Marshfield High School.

Kimberly (18-8), the No. 5 seed in the sectional, moves on to a sectional semifinal against No. 1 seed Neenah (25-1) on Thursday at a site to be determined.

Kimberly senior Jackson Paveletzke, a Wofford University recruit, scored the Papermakers’ final 20 points as converted two three-point plays and made 14 of 16 free throws to finish with a game-high 34 points.

“We had a few too many empty possessions on the offensive end,” Marshfield coach Chris Fischer said. “I thought the shot selection, we got to some good spots, in the 8-10 foot area, some good open looks for 3. We sent them to the free throw line a little too much at the end of the game.”

Carson Kvernen hit a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run midway through the first half to give Marshfield a 22-16.

Marcus Neve and Chase Hinson added 3-pointers as Marshfield took a 36-28 lead into halftime.

Marshfield survived a barrage of 3-pointers from Kimberly to start the second half.

Seth Miron hit three from long range and Jamison Grall added another for the Papermakers, but Marshfield was able to hold serve as Luke LeMoine made back-to-back hoops and the Tigers went on top 47-40 with 13:49 remaining.

Paveletzke scored to start a 10-0 run as Marshfield missed four-straight shots and the Papermakers led 50-47 with 10:26 after another 3-pointer by Grall.

Marshfield tied it at 52-52 on a Brooks Hinson 3-pointer, but never were able to regain the lead as Paveletzke took over. The 6-foot-2 guard drove to the basket time and again, and Marshfield was having a tough time staying in front of him without fouling.

Chase Hinson did his best to keep the Tigers in it, making a pair of 3-pointers to cut Kimberly’s lead to 61-60 with 2:27 left.

Marshfield wouldn’t score again, missing their final five shot attempts. Paveletzke made 9 of 10 free throws over the final 2:18 to ice the victory for Kimberly.

“When they started hitting some shots at the start of the second half, it made it more difficult to contain Paveletzke,” Fischer said. “He’s a big-time money player. He was tough to contain and that was our fear. We did a good job of it in the first half. We tried to answer but maybe we just ran out of gas.”

Chase Hinson had 14 points, Kvernen and Brooks Hinson each added 11, and LeMoine had 10 for Marshfield, which says good-bye to eight seniors – seven players and student-assistant coach Connor Kvernen.

“Personally, this group of seniors believed in me personally when I didn’t necessarily believe in myself after last year (a 2-18 season),” Fischer said of the senior group that were part of a Wisconsin Valley Conference championship. “That meant a lot to me and our coaching staff. When they showed up to an open gym or an early-morning workout, practice, they didn’t just show up and were present, they showed up with a purpose. It was hard work, meaningful, and purposeful.

“We proved that we can play with the best teams in the state. Now we have to figure out how we can get over that hump.”

Papermakers 70, Tigers 60

Kimberly 28 42 - 70

Marshfield 36 24 - 60

KIMBERLY (70): Sam Gingras 1-2 1-2 3, Owen Pawlikowski 4-7 2-2 11, Jack Statz 1-3 0-0 3, Jamison Grall 2-5 0-0 6, Seth Miron 5-17 0-0 13, Jackson Paveletzke 9-13 16-21 34, A.J. VanVonderen 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 22-47. FT: 19-25. 3-pointers: 7-18 (Miron 3-7, Grall 2-5, Pawlikowski 1-1, Statz 1-3, Paveletzke 0-1, Gingras 0-1). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 6. Fouled out: none. Record: 18-8.

MARSHFIELD (60): Chase Hinson 5-14 0-0 14, Gavin Fravert 2-3 0-0 5, Carson Kvernen 4-9 2-2 11, Luke LeMoine 5-9 0-2 10, Brooks Hinson 4-8 0-0 11, Carston Freis 0-0 0-0 0, Marcus Neve 3-5 2-4 9. FG: 23-48. FT: 4-8. 3-pointers: 10-24 (C. Hinson 4-11, B. Hinson 3-6, Neve 1-1, Fravert 1-2, Kvernen 1-3, LeMoine 0-1). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: none. Record: 19-5.