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Sweeney’s 40 points leads East to victory; other regional results

By Murray Gleffe

GREEN BAY – It wasn’t Ryan Sweeney’s best game of his career but arguably his most important.

Sweeney scored 40 points to help lead No. 5-seeded Green Bay East to an 88-74 victory over No. 12 Milwaukee Riverside University in a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 regional semifinal game March 4 at East High School.

“Maybe for the first time all year, the kids decided this was our game tonight,” East Head Coach Rick Rosinski said. “We did everything in our power to hold Riverside to one possession. When they started to overplay us, we got some easy looks. It was a grind.”

In addition to Sweeney’s output, Bill Felix pumped in 28 points for the Red Devils.

Riverside was led by Gabe Byrd’s 27 points, while Jamari Gamble added 25.

With the win, East travels to No. 4 Milwaukee King for the regional title Saturday, March 5, at King High School.

The Red Devils jumped on Riverside from the beginning in building an 11-2 lead four minutes into the game.

Defensively, East opened in a 2-3 zone, and it worked for the first part of the half, as the Tigers clanked shot after shot off the tin.

“For the most part, we play six guys and are limited off the bench,” Rosinski said. “We conserved energy and didn’t get beat off the dribble too much. We gave them some looks from deep.”

After Vance Alexander went glass for East to give it a 21-13 lead, Riverside hit its stride with the outside shot, going on a 13-5 run behind the strong shooting of Byrd and Gamble.

With the score tied at 26-26, the Red Devils continued to find one-on-one matchups they liked with Sweeney and Felix, as the duo scored 12 of the last 14 points at the end of the first half for a 40-33 lead at intermission.

“(Riverside) plays in a tough conference,” Sweeney said. “They’re athletic and battle-tested every game.”

Each time East looked like it was going to pull away, Riverside made a charge.

With 13:36 remaining in the game, the Tigers took their first lead, 47-46, after Gamble connected on a 25-footer from the left wing.

“We didn’t panic,” Rosinski said. “We played through it. I didn’t waste a timeout during their run. We had the mental toughness to persevere with our seniors.”

Less than a minute later, the momentum swung back to East.

Felix connected on a finger roll around the rim and was fouled.

Gamble took exception to the foul and whipped the ball into the side paneling, causing an immediate technical foul from the referee.

Sweeney connected on the free throws, and the Red Devils scored on the ensuing possession for a 52-47 advantage.

A bit later, Byrd ripped a triple to even the game at 66-66 with less than six minutes remaining.

It was the last time the Tigers drew even.

On the subsequent possession, Alexander scored on a breakaway layup and then hit an elbow jumper seconds later.

Felix then connected on a mid-range jumper before Sweeney hit a layup on a slip to the hoop.

It was part of a 13-4 run that gave the Red Devils a 79-70 lead.

Down the stretch, East hit its free throws to pull away for the victory.

“During the game, I’m not focused on the individual points,” Sweeney said. “I’m a scorer on the floor but in the role of helping my team secure a win. I wanted to make sure I performed at the highest level on our home court in my last game at East.”

Other area results – Division 1

No. 2 De Pere 95, No. 15 Hartford Union 62

No. 9 Bay Port 112, No. 8 Kaukauna 98

No. 4 Milwaukee King 57, No. 13 Green Bay Preble 42

Division 2

No. 1 Notre Dame Academy 60, No. 8 Pulaski 50

No. 2 Ashwaubenon 79, No. 10 Green Bay Southwest 53

No. 3 West De Pere 86, No. 6 Luxemburg-Casco 75

Division 5

No. 3 Hustisford 77, No. 6 Green Bay N.E.W. Lutheran 73 (overtime)


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