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Hornseth, Kinziger lead De Pere to sectional final

By Murray Gleffe

MANITOWOC – Both teams entered the game with identical records and a state ranking.

Something had to give.

Led by John Kinziger’s 35 and Will Hornseth’s 21 points, the No. 2-seeded De Pere boys’ basketball team defeated No.3-seeded Homestead 87-77 in a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 sectional semifinal game March 10 at Manitowoc Lincoln High School.

With the victory, De Pere advanced to the sectional final where it will take on top-seeded Menomonee Falls.

The Phoenix are led by Seth Trimble, a University of North Carolina commit.

De Pere is ranked No. 2 in the state in the latest Wissports.net Coaches Poll, while Menomonee Falls is ranked No. 3.

“It was a great win for us tonight,” De Pere Head Coach Brian Winchester said. “We went with some high ball screens, and Johnny (Kinziger) made some great plays, especially in the second half.”

Tim Franks led Homestead with 34 points in defeat.

Gabe Herman ripped a long ball to give the Redbirds an early 11-5 lead.

“He’s (Herman) our glue guy,” Winchester said about Herman, who also doubles as De Pere’s quarterback on the gridiron. “He keeps everything together and is a much better scorer than what people give him credit for. You have to guard him.”

It was the stellar all-around play of Franks, however, that kept the Highlanders in the first half.

“He’s (Franks) long and a tremendous scorer,” Winchester said about Homestead’s leading scorer. “We tried to get out and jam him during the game. He does a great job, though, at moving his body into defenders to create contact.”

With about eight minutes left in the first half, Hornseth got the crowd involved with a rim-rattling dunk for a 21-14 lead.

“The energy in the gym was great,” Hornseth said. “They (Homestead) are a good team. I did my thing in the paint. It was very physical.”

De Pere (25-2 overall) continued to lead by eight and nine points on several occasions, and eventually, took a 40-31 lead into intermission.

The Highlanders (24-3) scored the first two baskets of the second half to trim the lead to 40-36, but the Redbirds took off from there.

After Kinziger converted on an old-fashioned three-point play, the Redbirds built a double-digit lead, 48-38, with 15 minutes remaining.

Homestead’s offense kept clicking, but its defense couldn’t keep up.

Both Kinziger brothers, John and Zach, and Hornseth had little resistance in converting multiple layups, as De Pere eventually took a 70-58 lead with five minutes left.

Down the stretch, the Highlanders were forced to foul after scoring on their offensive end.

The Redbirds canned 8-of-10 free throws in the final minutes to advance within one game of a state appearance.

“It’s going to take a total team defensive effort Saturday to get it done,” Winchester said. “We are gritty and a tough bunch. Our kids will not back down to anyone. They (Menomonee Falls) have to guard us, too. We’re excited to be in it.”

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