The magical postseason run came to an end for the Northwestern Tigers with a 63-35 loss to the Somerset Spartans Thursday night in the New Richmond High School gym.
The Tigers (12-14) ended the regular season with a 9-13 record and then won three straight playoff games before losing the sectional semifinal game to Somerset.
The Spartans will take a 17-8 record into Saturday’s sectional championship game against the winner of Gale-Ettrick-Trempeleau (23-1) and Prescott (18-5). The game will tip off at 7 p.m. in River Falls.
The Tigers stayed with the Spartans early on and were tied 15-15 after one quarter and trailed 32-24 at the half.
Somerset outscored the Tigers 19-4 in the third quarter before taking a pair of 28-point leads down the stretch.
Somerset’s only lead in the opening quarter was 2-0 on a basket by Gaelin Elmore.
Northwestern scored the next seven points and took a 7-2 lead on Nolan Graff’s 3-pointer.
The Tigers matched their five-point lead three more times until the Spartans tied the game at 13-13 on a 2- and 3-pointer by Reggie Larson.
Gabe Dinkel scored for Northwestern and Jack Emmert scored for Somerset for a 15-15 tie at the end of the first quarter.
Elmore’s basket early in the second quarter gave the Spartans their second lead of the game, 17-15, but the Tigers quickly regained an 18-17 lead on Dylan Jardine’s 3-pointer.
The Tigers eventually took a 19-17 lead, but the Spartans followed up by scoring nine straight points and 15 of the next 20 points for a 32-24 lead at halftime.
Elmore was the big gun for the Spartans in the first half with 16 points. Justin Alexson and Dylan Jardine led the Tigers with eight points each in the first half.
Somerset’s 14-2 run at the start of the third quarter opened its lead to 46-26.
Elmore led the Spartans with 24 points and Tyler Ledbeter chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Jardine led the Tigers with 12 points and six rebounds. Graff was next with nine points, all on 3-pointers, and Alexson added eight points.
Somerset 15 17 19 12 — 63
Northwestern 15 9 4 7 — 35