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Columbus Catholic senior Eden Jacobson scores two of his team-high 21 points during the first half of a WIAA Division 5 boys basketball regional final against Port Edwards on Saturday at Columbus Catholic High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/For Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker

For Zaleski Sports

MARSHFIELD – Port Edwards trailed for most of the WIAA Division 5 boys basketball regional final against Marshfield Columbus Catholic, but one final push was enough for the Blackhawks to move on the playoffs.

Port Edwards closed the game on a 12-6 run during the final 3:14 to edge Columbus Catholic 64-59 on Saturday night at Columbus Catholic High School.

Port Edwards (13-4) moves on to the Division 5 sectional semifinals on Thursday at Wauzeka-Stueben (14-2). Columbus Catholic, winners of the Cloverbelt Conference East Division, finish the season 19-6.

Columbus Catholic led for all of 13 seconds in the first half as Eden Jacobson scored 15 points, including eight in a row that helped the Dons take a 19-15 lead.

Port Edwards took a brief lead, at 24-23, before Cole Noreen made a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run as the Dons regained the lead.

Columbus Catholic’s Jadon Nienast makes a 3-pointer in the final minute of the Dons’ loss to Port Edwards in a WIAA Division 5 boys basketball regional final Saturday at Columbus Catholic High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/For Zaleski Sports)

A three-point play from Sam Wilczek and Emmitt Konieczny drilled a 3-pointer to push Columbus to a 39-33 lead at halftime.

Following a steal and layup by Jadon Nienast in the opening 30 seconds of the second half, Port Edwards’ David Gibbs had a personal 9-0 run to give the Blackhawks a 42-41 advantage. From there, the game was tight.

Columbus responded with a 6-0 run and Port Edwards came back with a 7-0 run and led 49-47 with 8:12 to go.

After a 3-pointer by Gibbs gave the Blackhawks a 52-48 lead, Jacobson scored inside and Emmitt Konieczny hit his fourth 3-pointer of game as Columbus crawled back ahead 53-52 with 4:44 remaining.

The Dons missed their next four shots and Port Edwards took advantage. Carson Parks hit a 3-pointer, Alex Hernandez scored inside and Gibbs made a free throw to give the Blackhawks a 58-53 lead with 1:42 left.

Nienast hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Dons, cutting the deficit to 60-59 with 21 seconds to go, but the Dons wouldn’t score again. Nathan Gibbs made four free throws in the closing seconds to finish off the win for Port Edwards.

“This is what this time of year is about,” Port Edwards coach Justin Beck said. “Two great programs going after it, fighting for a regional championship, back-and-forth. It’s an exciting game to be part of.

“We joke around that we’re a second-half team. With the exception of last night in Almond, every other game in the second half we have to come out and find our defense, spark our offense and push ourselves. We have been able to do that and it’s pretty fun.”

David Gibbs finished with 22 points for Port Edwards. Jacobson had 21 for the Dons.

Blackhawks 64, Dons 59

Port Edwards 33 31 - 64

Columbus Catholic 39 20 - 59

PORT EDWARDS (64): Timmy Tranel 0-4 2-2 2, Nathan Gibbs 1-4 6-6 9, Alex Hernandez 2-5 0-0 4, Carson Parks 2-4 0-0 5, David Gibbs 6-9 7-10 22, Ben Hanten 4-8 0-0 8, Quinton Tranel 5-9 4-6 14. FG: 20-43. FT: 19-25. 3-pointers: 5-17 (D. Gibbs 3-5, Parks 1-3, N. Gibbs 1-4, Hernandez 0-1, T. Timmel 0-4). Rebounds: 32 (Hanten 9, Q. Tranel 9). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: none. Record: 13-4.

COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (59): Gage Stratman 0-0 0-0 0, Cole Noreen 2-5 0-0 6, Emmitt Konieczny 4-13 0-0 12, Blake Jakobi 0-2 0-0 0, Jadon Nienast 5-12 1-2 11, Sam Wilczek 2-5 2-3 6, Eden Jacobson 8-10 5-5 21, Grant Olson 1-6 1-1 3. FG: 22-53. FT: 9-11. 3-pointers: 8-29 (Konieczny 4-13, Nienast 2-4, Noreen 2-5, Jakobi 0-1, Olson 0-3, Wilczek 0-3). Rebounds: 19 (Jacobson 4). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Jacobson. Record: 19-6.