PHS jumped out to an 8-0 lead sparked by a rim-shaking dunk by 7-0 junior center Owen Hamilton, the Cardinals' first points of the ballgame. The fired up Redbirds maintained a double-digit lead throughout the duration of the contest, never letting the ninth seeded Spartans come closer than 12 points, before pulling away.
Prescott's Peter Brookshaw pumped in 31 points to lead all scorers while Hamilton scored 21 points and Keegan Nielsen finished with 10 points.
The win was also head coach Nick Johnson's 100th at PHS.
Prescott, 20-3 overall, the top seed in their half of the Eau Claire North Sectional bracket, will host No. 5 Barron tonight at 7 p.m. in the regional tournament finals. The Golden Bears, 17-6 overall, defeated No. 4 seed St. Croix Central 62-60 in the other semifinal match-up.
The Bears are led in scoring by their frontline players, 6-6 forward Rece Dietrich averages nearly 20 points per game and 6-8 senior center Ethan Weaver averages 14 points per game. Dietrich scored 40 points in the Bears' win over SCC.
"We're going to have to protect the rim and drop quicker in our 1-3-1 defense," Coach Johnson said. "We'll need good outside shooting tonight and force the game to our style of up-tempo basketball."
The other regional finals in the sectional pit No. 2 seed and Heart O'North champion Maple Northwestern against No. 6 Hayward; the state's top-ranked D-3 team Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau vs. No. 4 seed Westby and No. 3 seed Mauston vs. No. 2 seed Black River Falls. If PHS wins tonight they'll face either Maple Northwestern, 17-4 overall, or Hayward, 16-7 overall, next Thursday in River Falls.
WIAA Division 3 Tournament Bracket
|Prescott's Owen Hamilton going up strong to the basket vs. Somerset during Friday's regional semifinal.|
|PHS's Peter Brookshaw travels through air for this lay-up attempt over Somerset's Jackson Chladek|