Tosa East can't keep up with top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran in regional final
Red Raiders came out hot, but Vikings too strong
Wauwatosa East came to play.
One day after winning a thriller over Pius XI, the Red Raiders, seeded fourth, came out clicking and led top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran, 17-13, after the first quarter.
But soon, the Vikings showed their muscle and the Red Raiders had no answer as Wisconsin Lutheran rolled to a 57-43 win.
The Vikings took a 31-28 lead into half and outscored the Red Raiders in the second, 26-15, to advance to the sectional round.
While they couldn’t complete the upset, Red Raiders coach Tim Arndorfer had no complaints about his team’s first-half performance.
“I don’t know what anybody else expected,” he said. “I know what we expected and I think that for 16 minutes that’s what we gave.”
A turning point came in the second quarter when Wisconsin Lutheran’s Deiondre Cunningham got a steal at mid-court and finished the play with a dunk to put the Vikings up 22-20.
A technical foul against East on that play gave Cunningham two free throws.
After Cunningham sank one, the Vikings scored again to go up 25-20. While Tosa East wasn’t able to regain the lead, they kept the score close heading into the half.
But the third quarter is where the wheels fell off. In a quarter that saw the two teams combine for more fouls than points, the Red Raiders managed only one point on a free throw. The Vikings scored nine to take a 40-29 lead.
“The third quarter was certainly the turning point,” Arndorfer said. “I don’t care if it’s (the) playoffs or regular season, you score one point in the third quarter and you’re not going to be too successful.”
“(Tosa East) shot 18 free throws in the first half,” added Vikings’ coach Ryan Walz, “so we allowed them some free shots. In the third quarter, we limited that, didn’t put them on the line, we limited their shot selection. I thought that our kids really stepped up the defense.”
The 11 fouls in the third quarter was also indicative of a game that saw the teams combine for 41 fouls.
“That’s the way they were calling it, so the guys have to adjust to that,” Walz said. “Both teams like to pressure man to man, and there’s a lot of hand checking going on and they were calling that, so you’ve just got to be smart and step off a little bit and get your hands off them.”
The Raiders ended their scoring slump in the fourth quarter, but were still outscored by the Vikings 17-14.
“We didn’t execute,” Arndorfer said. “I thought we played selfish basketball. We didn’t play together, that’s for sure, and we dug ourselves into a hole we couldn’t get out of.”
Wisconsin Lutheran advances to play Milwaukee Washington at 7 p.m. Thursday at Waukesha North in a matchup of the top two seeds.
Tosa East finished the season 14-10 and took third in the Greater Metro Conference.
“We lose 11 seniors most of whom have given four years to this program, so that’s a lot of experience that’s leaving us,” Arndorfer said. “I don’t like the word rebuilding. Remodeling, maybe.
“We’re going to need some commitments from our juniors that are here and the sophomore and freshman class and see what they can offer for us. It’s tough when you’re replacing 11 guys and it’s not easy at any time at the end of the year to say goodbye to them.
“We’ll certainly miss them and thank them for everything they’ve done.”
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