Howards Grove has Ozaukee boys’ number again in Division 4 sectional semifinal decided in fourth quarter
The postseason dream is over for the Ozaukee High School boys’ basketball team.
After scoring three straight wins to earn their first WIAA regional title, the Warriors saw their tournament run end with a 58-48 loss to Howards Grove in a Division 4 sectional semifinal game March 8 in Plymouth.
Ozaukee, which lost twice to the Tigers in Central Lakeshore Conference play this season, put up a valiant effort before succumbing.
Senior center Eric Hartnett led Ozaukee by scoring 26 points in the final game of his high school career.
After trailing, 39-35, entering the fourth quarter, the Warriors scored the first four points of the period to pull even. However, Howards Grove responded with 11 unanswered points and then withstood a final Ozaukee comeback.
Guard Colton Susen hit back-to-back three-point baskets for the Warriors before Howards Grove regained control.
“I thought we did a great job coming back in the fourth quarter, but we let it slip away again and couldn’t crawl back,” Ozaukee coach Isaiah Ketterhagen said.
“We had a great run and played some solid ball down the stretch, but we had an off shooting night, and that came back to get us.”
Howards Grove, which improved to 20-5, used a balanced scoring attack to win its first trip to a sectional title game in nearly 20 years.
During the Tigers’ decisive fourth-quarter rally, they got field goals from five players. A rebound basket by Ashton Holzman was followed with a layup by Ryan Bruesewitz, a three-pointer by Mike Davis and a layup by Noah Steines scored inside.
A basket by Garrett Jahnke capped the surge, which put the Tigers ahead, 50-39.
During the run, the Warriors turned the ball over three times.
Ozaukee got another strong performance from Hartnett, who had broken the school’s career scoring record in a regional title game. However, no other Warrior scored in double figures.
Susen had nine points for Ozaukee, and Pat Kroening added seven.
Holzman had 19 points to lead the Tigers, and Steines and Davis added 15 and 14, respectively.
“I thought we played hard. It was a pretty tight game throughout with different runs by both teams,” Ketterhagen said.
“We started out real strong but then stopped going to our strength — getting touches inside — and Howards Grove started hitting some shots.
“We don’t match up well with Howards at all. We’re big, and they’re guard heavy. Once we lose the lead, they go on runs with their shooting.”
Ozaukee finished the season 16-10.
Last Saturday, Howards Grove saw its season end with a 78-47 loss to Whitefish Bay Dominican in a sectional title game.
Image Information: OZAUKEE’S COLTON SUSEN prepared to make a move in the face of defensive pressure from Garrett Jahnke of Howards Grove during a Division 4 sectional semifinal game. Photo by Sam Arendt