Tigers knock off No. 1 seedNorthwestern defeats Bloomer 32-29.
The Northwestern High School boys basketball team has saved its best basketball for the playoffs.
The Tigers pulled off a big upset Friday night with a 32-29 defeat of the Bloomer Blackhawks, a team that beat Northwestern twice in the regular season.
Bloomer, the No. 1 seed in the region, ends the season with a 19-4 record while the Tigers improve to 11-13.
Northwestern will face Spooner Saturday in the regional finals. Spooner defeated Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 72-48 Friday night.
"Before the game I said I hoped the score was 24-20," said Dave Gustafson, head coach of the Tigers. "We weren't far off."
The difference for Northwestern in Friday's game was defense. In the two regular season meetings between Northwestern and Bloomer, the Tigers tried to stop Bloomer with a man-to-man defense. That plan did not worked well, Gustafson said, so he decided upon a new approach for the playoffs.
"We thought our best chance would be to play zone, and the kids really bought into it," Gustafson said. "They executed the plan to a T."
Bloomer's three leading scorers were held to a combined 11 points for the night.
On offense, Northwestern went inside to Dylan Jardine, and the 6-foot-6 junior ended the night with 20 or Northwestern's 32 points. Nolan Graff added six points, Justin Alexson had four and Grand Pearson had two.
Northwestern 11 1 4 16 — 32
Bloomer 7 5 10 7 — 29
Northwestern — Justin Alexson 4, Nolan Graf 6, Grant Pearson 2, Dylan Jardine 20.
Bloomer — Logan Price 6, Karson Rihn 5, Dustin Clark 2, Travis Mullen 5, Jacob Rothbauer 5, Chalie Yohnk 6.