Panthers’ junior Jeremy Bruton, shown here at home against Badger this season, scored eight points to help Wilmot beat Fort Atkinson Tuesday (File Photo).

Panthers earn opportunity for regional title Saturday

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

Faced with roar of an opposing crowd, the No. 10 Wilmot Union High School boys basketball squad knew what had to get done to pull off an upset of No. 2 McFarland in Friday’s WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal.

The 67-57 overtime upset, which came after the Panthers ousted No. 7 Fort Atkinson on Tuesday, sends the Panthers to Burlington for a chance to capture the regional title Saturday.

Panthers’ coach Jake Erbentraut, who noted Rock Valley Conference-North Division McFarland had a potent offense, said his team maintained composure in spite of a rumbling gym.

“They are a heck of a team, they won their conference, the Rock Valley and they can really shoot the ball,” said Erbentraut. “That was a really really loud McFarland gym tonight and our guys never wavered.”

“I could not be more proud of our guys,” he added.

With the Panthers down 19-17 entering the second half, they outscored the Spartans 34-32 to force overtime, where they knocked in 16 points compared to McFarland’s six.

Among the leading Panther scorers in overtime, junior Latrell Glass, held scoreless in the first half, produced seven of his 13 points in the extra frame.

Glass’ contributions, Erbentraut said, came after the junior committed his fourth personal foul early in the second half.

“From there, he took over the game offensively,” he said.

Meanwhile, junior Jeremy Bruton knocked in three of his team-leading 15 points in overtime.

Additionally, Erbentraut said, junior Kyle Gendron made crucial shots in overtime, where he scored three of his five points.

As a trio juniors propelled the Panthers in overtime, Erbentraut acknowledged sophomore Kevin Brenner’s contributions early in the game, when he scored seven of his 13 points in the first half.

“We had so many guys step up when they needed to, when we needed a rebound, Josh Schattner got the rebound, when we needed a 3-pointer, Jeremy Bruton got the three,” said Erbentraut. “Kevin Brenner was making the shots when he needed to.”

As senior Darren Rita pitched in 10 points, nine in the second half, senior Troy Hickey energized the squad.

“Troy Hickey played with a ton of energy,” said Erbentraut.

Before the Panthers win Friday, Erbentraut recalled Tuesday’s game, when they were ahead by one point with less than five seconds left of regulation.

“I told the guys at timeout that you got to do two things, one, you got to contest every single shot and you have to box out when getting rebounds,” said Erbentraut.

Entering Friday’s contest, Erbentraut issued another reminder, telling the team to maintain the momentum.

“We are going to go in there, and do our thing, and we came out and we are playing with our best basketball right now,” he said.

The Panthers, who improved to 7-16 overall, dropped McFarland to 16-7 to conclude its season.

McFarland’s Brandon Acker scored a game-high 20 points.

 
 

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