The Bulldogs traveled to Groton to play the Groton Tigers in the regional semifinal game on Friday night, March 4. The Bulldogs led by eight points in the first quarter, and the score was tied at 25-25 after two and 41-41 going into the fourth quarter. But, the Tigers came on strong in the final minutes, and Milbank eventually went down at 51-59.
The loss brought an end to the Bulldogs’ 2021-2022 season. Logan Diede, head coach for Milbank, explained how it isn’t always about winning, though. Diede said, “I’m incredibly proud of my young men and how well they executed and bought into our game plan. They were ‘big time’ throughout this game in a tough environment, and they never got rattled against a very good Groton team.”
Diede said, “We didn’t ‘get it done’ on the scoreboard as Groton’s seniors hit some timely big threes down the stretch. So, we have to credit them. But, we absolutely got it done in every way on Friday. I couldn’t have asked for a better locked in, tough, and together performance from these young men.”
Bennett Schwenn had 19 points and eight rebounds. Kellen Hoeke and Wylie Mursu each put up 10. Hoeke had four rebounds and hit two three-pointers. Mursu had three rebounds, two steals, and an assist. Garrett Mertens made eight points, five rebounds, and five assists. Justus Osborne had four points and an assist. Stevie Ash had four rebounds and an assist. Karson Weber added a rebound.
Jayden Zak made 16 points for the Tigers, including five three-point shots. Lane Tietz also put up 16. Kaden Kurtz made 11 points along with four rebounds. Jacob Zak and Wyatt Hearnen each put in eight points and grabbed five rebounds.
Score by Periods: Milbank 14 11 16 10 Total 51 Groton 8 17 16 18 Total 59
Coach Diede said, “This time of year, always brings the emotions of finishing this season’s journey and the added emotion of saying goodbye to our seniors. But, it has been an incredible journey, and I’m proud of each and every one of them. Thanks to everyone for making the trip over to Groton to cheer these young men on. It sure is nice to see support from the community and the student section when our boys are doing things the right way and leaving it all out there.”
Coach Diede also directly addressed the players who played their last game in a Bulldog jersey. “To our seniors Stevie, Kellen, Karson, Bennett, Isaac, and Wylie: Milbank basketball is in a better place for having you in it. Your efforts, sacrifices, and willingness to be coached, as well as having a team-first approach, has been instrumental in our successes, and it has set the bar for returning players and future players. I’m grateful for our time together on the hardwood and excited for you in your next chapter. Bright futures ahead! This team is a family and always will be.”
Photos: Top- Bennett, Wylie, Stevie, Isaac, Karson and Kellen
Bottom- Kellen, Stevie, Wylie, Bennett, Isaac and Karson