Ashwaubenon captures regional title
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON – The Ashwaubenon boys’ basketball team remained perfect in 2021.
The No. 1-seeded Jaguars won their 16th straight game, the latest, a 70-61 victory over No. 2 Notre Dame Academy in a WIAA Division 2 regional final game Feb. 20 at Ashwaubenon High School.
“I’m happy for the community,” said Mark Tomashek, Ashwaubenon head coach. “These guys work so hard. We put in lots of time the last two years to get to this point.”
Marcus Tomashek led Ashwaubenon (20-5) with 27 points, while Garrett Grzesk paced Notre Dame with 26.
After the Tritons (17-9) scored the opening two baskets of the game, the Jaguars took control with the outside shooting of Tomashek and Brady Wittig to build an 18-10 lead with 7:47 left until halftime.
“We had some guys go to the bench because of fouls,” said Marcus Tomashek. “I did whatever I could to make shots and keep this team alive.”
A bit later, Grzesk started receiving entry passes in the lane and began scoring at will, as Notre Dame slowly crept its way back into the game.
After the 6-foot-5 senior center hit two free throws, the Tritons had regained the lead.
They eventually took a 27-25 cushion into the break.
“Garrett played his heart out tonight,” said AJ Alexander, Notre Dame head coach. “Ashwaubenon had an early lead, and then their four and five guys got into foul trouble. I thought Luke (Warden) came off the bench and gave us some excellent minutes in the lane as we forged ahead.”
The Tritons remained in front until the 11:19 mark when Ashwaubenon’s Matt Imig nailed a triple to put the Jaguars in front, 36-35.
“Notre Dame started to pressure Marcus lots more to start the second half,” Tomashek said. “I ran a few sets for Matt, and he came up big for us.
The Jaguars took their biggest lead of the night, 49-38, when reserve guard Andrew Spika hit a 23-foot, fadeaway 3-pointer.
“Andrew came in and changed the tempo of the game,” said Tomashek. “Not only did he hit a couple of big jumpers, but he defended their guards well. I’m happy for him.”
The Tritons didn’t go away quietly.
Tomashek picked up his fourth foul with about seven minutes remaining.
Notre Dame then went on a subsequent 11-4 run to get to within 53-49 after Emmett Lawton banked in a runner off the glass.
The Tritons wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the night.
“At times, we settled too much on long jumpers,” said Alexander. “Our patience needed to be better on certain possessions. We forced it a bit too much.”
With the victory, Ashwaubenon will get reseeded into a WIAA Division 2 sectional, which includes Luxemburg-Casco, Seymour and Xavier.
“It’s anyone’s sectional,” said Tomashek. “You’ll have to play hard for two games to make it to state.”
Notre Dame: 27, 34—61
Ashwaubenon: 25, 45—70
Tritons: Grzesk 26, Nennig 8, Mitchell 7, Lawton 7, Warden 7, Hornacek 4, Kress 2.
Jaguars: Tomashek 27, Imig 16, Krueger 9, Wittig 7, Spika 5, Zollar 4, Kirst 2.