top of page


Stratford’s Max Vanderhoof searches for a basket during the Tigers’ win over Stevens Point Pacelli in a WIAA Division 4 boys basketball regional semifinal game Friday night at Stratford High School. The Tigers won, 66-40. (Photo by Steve Pilz/For Zaleski Sports)

By Steve Pilz For Zaleski Sports

STRATFORD – The Stratford Tigers started their march forward in the 2020 WIAA basketball tournament with a resounding 66-40 win over an overwhelmed Stevens Point Pacelli squad Friday night in a Division 4 regional semifinal at Stratford High School.

The Tigers (22-0) will play Neillsville (20-3) for a D-4 regional title at 7 p.m. Saturday. Neillsville were 76-58 winners over Marathon on Friday.

Stratford missed a couple shots early and then began to grind the Cardinals up, as they have most of their previous 21 opponents.

At the 12:29 mark, Cody Miller came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer to make it 15-2.

At 10:30, Max Vanderhoof came off the bench to hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 32-6.

And with about five minutes left in the first half, it was 34-7.

The half ended, as did the Cardinal hopes at 41-13.

“I was very happy with the effort,” said Stratford coach Curt Schmidt. “The nice thing is that I was able to rest guys quite a bit and that’s what the goal was, because you gotta play back-to-back.

“I thought the guys’ defense was really good. Our shot selection was pretty solid. We moved the ball well and played some great ‘D’. I think we played all 18 guys and that was big. Hopefully that will benefit us more tomorrow, having fresh legs.”

When asked about his bench contributing in the first half, namely Vanderhoof, who had 10 points in the half and 12 for the game, Schmidt continued.

“He’s played really well for us this year. He shot well tonight and did a real nice job. Miller (Cody) came off (the bench) and gave us some good minute,s as did Camden Daul and (Tyler) Lappe, and a few of the other guys. “

The Tigers pushed the lead to 35 in a non-descript second half and played their entire roster on the way to the win.

Vaughn Breit led the way for the Tigers with 15 points, and Vanderhoof and Dawson Danen chipped in 12 apiece.

Mason Schlagenhaft was the only Cardinal in double figures with 12.

“We go against a pretty good Neillsville team tomorrow night,” concluded Schmidt. “They’ll be hungry and we need to get after it, play hard, and at that point it’s whoever is making their shots.”

Tigers 66, Cardinals 40 Pacelli 13 27 – 40 Stratford 41 25 – 66 PACELLI (40): Mason Schlagenhaft 5 2-2 12, Jacob Schroeder 1 0-0 2, Weston Peplinski 2 1-3 6, Kaydin Mayek 1 0-0 3, Nicholas Hartman 1 1-2 4, Brock Birrenkott 0 2-2 2, Elliot Parks 2 5-10 9, Mason Lawlis 1 0-0 2. FG: 13-39. FT: 11-19. 3-pointers: 3-15 (Peplinski, Hartman, Mayek). Turnovers: 15. Fouled out: Parks. Record: 12-12. STRATFORD (66): Teddy Redman 1 0-0 2, Cody Miller 2 1-1 7, Max Vanderhoof 5 0-0 12, Chandler Schmidt 1 3-4 6, Dawson Danen 4 2-2 12, Tyler Lappe 1 0-0 2, Vaughn Breit 6 2-8, 15, Ben Barten 3 2-3 8, Zack Seitz 1 0-0 2. FG: 24-68. FT: 11-20. 3-pointers: 8-28 (Miller 2, Vanderhoof 2, Danen 2, Schmidt, Breit). Turnovers: 13. Fouled out: none. Record: 22-0.

Steve Pilz writes for, a contributor of Zaleski Sports.