Wauwatosa East upset Milwaukee Morse-Marshall/Juneau on Sautrday, 59-58, and won its first regional championship since 2008-09.
The Red Raiders (16-9) will now move to play at 5:45 p.m. next Thursday in the WIAA sectional against Milwaukee Washington (19-5). The Purgolders clobbered Nicolet, 70-44, to advance.
The MMM/J Eagles finished 17-8.
The Red Raiders, trailing 39-28 with 1:51 left in the third period, suddenly came to life, going on a 19-4 run to take a 47-43 lead with 4:39 left in the game. But the Eagles battled back with their own 8-1 run to take a 51-48 lead, as Nick Allen scored six of his game-high 24 points in this stretch.
But then junior Kyle Vnuk, who led Tosa East with 17 points, hit two free throws and junior Nate Moore nailed a long 3-pointer from in front of the Red Raiders bench to give his team a 53-51 lead with 2:11 left to play.
After a timeout, Allen missed the front end of a bonus, but got the rebound and passed to Kevontrell Ellis for a bucket, tying the game at 53-53.
Then came possibly the play of the game.
East missed a shot, but senior Vince Cupertino tipped in the rebound, was fouled and nailed a free throw to put East back up for good at 56-53.
Kendale Nation hit two free throws to cut the lead to 56-55 with 52.1 left to play, but East senior Riley Poe was fouled and made 1-of-2 shots. When Allen missed a free throw, senior Zak Sylvester went high in the air between three Eagles and came down with the rebound. He was fouled and made both free throws for a 59-55 lead with 13.4 left to play.
The unstoppable Allen came down and hit a long 3-pointer to cut the lead to 59-58. The Eagles called a timeout but didn't have any left and were charged with a technical foul.
Moore missed both free throws, but East got the ball and Poe was sent to the line, where he made two more. All the Eagles could manage was a half-court prayer and the game was over.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of these kids tonight," a teary-eyed East coach Tim Arndorfer said. "The way they played tonight, they were simply amazing."
Besides Vnuk's 17, Diamonte Mckinley had 12 before fouling out with 52.1 seconds left to play; Moore had 12 and Sylvester, a beast on the boards all night, had 10.
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