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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Cardinals focus on next step to state

Despite playing familiar opponents in the playoffs so far, Prescott High School Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Nick Johnson wants to be known the approach the No. 6 ranked Cardinals have to take in the tournament towards them has to be different.

“Sure these are schools we’ve played and have beaten this season,” Johnson said. “But right now it’s a whole new seasons and what’s happened before doesn’t factor in to the game we have right in front of us. It’s a completely different game.”

That was true in the WIAA regional tournament final where PHS sweated out a 59-56 win over a St. Croix Central team the Cards’ beat comfortably in the regular season. And as PHS gets ready to face Ellsworth Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. in New Richmond, they can hardly expect to match what they did in season finale against Ellsworth, where they torched the Panthers 120-83.

“You’ve got to put that out of your mind and get ready for the game ahead,” Johnson said. “We know they will be."

Indeed, and it shouldn’t be forgotten the Cardinal fell behind by double digits the first game vs. the Panthers before rallying in the second half to win. PHS was put behind by the hot shooting and athletic ability of the Panthers’ Drake Flom, Logan Benson and Alex Motley who can easily do the same again as they have led Ellsworth to its first sectional tournament in 47 years back when  the tournament was all one class.

Defense will crucial to PHS’s chances of making it’s second straight state tournament and third in four years. The winner of tonight's game takes on No. 5 ranked Wisconsin Dells, 24-1 overall, who beat Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 61-55 last night in the other Menomonie Sectional Tournament semifinal in Neillsville.

The Chiefs' top scorers are 6-7 senior center Tanner Brandt and 6-3 senior guard Alex Weiss, who have led the Chiefs to one of their best seasons in years and a top five ranking. Brandt is averaging 18.2 ppg. while Weiss scores nearly 16 points per game.

WIAA Division 3 Boys Basketball Tournament Bracket

Prescott's Brian Tayson charges through the Somerset defense in last weekend's regional semifinal contest. Photo by Rachel Lindbom Raden

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