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Tigers get back into win column (updated)

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MAPLE — The Bloomer Blackhawks earned a sweep of the Northwestern High School boys basketball team for the first time in three years Friday with a 78-62 victory.

The win puts Bloomer in position for the Heart O’ North Conference title, while Northwestern is left puzzling how to stop freshmen Gabe and Mason Madsen.

When the Tigers played in Bloomer earlier this year, the Madsen twins combined to score 40 points.

Friday night they tallied 46 points, which included five 3-pointers by Mason Madsen.

As a team, Bloomer finished the night with 10 shots beyond the arc and made 24-of-27 free throws.

“I’ve watched film against other teams where they don’t shoot it as well. I don’t know what it is about us,” said David Gustafson, Tigers head coach.

“They didn’t get any wide open looks. There was someone with a hand in their face most of the time, and they were still knocking it down. We have to tip our hats to them.”

The Blackhawks used their hot shooting to build a 14-point advantage in the first half.

Northwestern and Bloomer traded the lead five times in the opening 4:21 of the game, with the Tigers attacking the lane for high-percentage shots and Bloomer firing from the arc. The Blackhawks scored 12 of their first 19 points on 3-pointers.

The final lead change came at 13:39 when Payton Dachel made a 3-pointer from the left wing for a 14-12 Bloomer lead.

About 20 seconds later, Northwestern’s Alex Tecker picked up his second personal foul and spent the remaining 13 minutes of the half on the bench.

With Tecker sidelined, the Blackhawks went inside to Dachel. The junior scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half with Tecker on the bench and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.

“Maybe we should have kept Alex in there with two fouls, but they do a good job running what they run on offense,” Gustafson said. “They’ve got multiple options, and Dachel in the post — he’s not a huge, tall player — but he’s got great footwork and is a great passer out of the post, so he’s a tough match-up.”

The Tigers picked up their seventh team foul with 10:09 still to play in the first half but managed to keep the score close.

Riley Stowers cut Bloomer’s lead to 21-19 with two pull-up jumpers 20 seconds apart. Gabe Madsen then scored inside for the Blackhawks, but Anthony Lupa put the lead back to two with a mid-range jump shot.

Over the next four minutes, Tanner Klobucher, Stowers and Mike Lindsay scored a basket apiece to leave Bloomer up 30-27 with 5:44 left in the half, but Northwestern’s foul trouble proved costly in the closing minutes. Bloomer went 7-of-7 from the line and added a pair of 3-pointers to take a 45-31 halftime lead.

“We thought we had a good plan coming into the game to shut down their shooters,” Gustafson said. “We know they’re a very good team and shoot the ball very well. We gave up eight 3-pointers in the first half, and that is a big hole to come out of.”

In the second half, the Tigers closed to within 10 points of Bloomer three times but could get no closer. Matt Lindsay provided a final spark for Northwestern with 3:13 to play — following a 3-pointer with a put-back to cut Bloomer’s lead to 69-58.

The Blackhawks then scored their final nine points at the free-throw line, going 9-of-10.

Northwestern finished the night with 24 team fouls, while Bloomer had 13. The Blackhawks made 24-of-27 free throws, and the Tigers made 7-of-11.

Mason Madsen led three Blackhawks in double figures with 33 points. Twin brother Gabe Madsen added 13 points, and Dachel finished with 19 points.

Stowers scored 24 for the Tigers, and Klobucher added 15.

“We knew that Northwestern looked at this as their conference championship game,” said Luke Madsen, Bloomer head coach. “We knew that they would come out and be really aggressive, and we didn’t want to be attacked. We’re kind of an attacking team, and I thought the kids did that.”

Bloomer (15-2, 11-1) has two conference games remaining, including its regular season finale against Hayward (13-6, 10-2) on Feb. 23. Northwestern (15-4, 9-2) wraps up conference play with two games against Cumberland and its regular season finale Feb. 23 at Ladysmith.

TIGER TALES: Bloomer has not won the HON boys basketball title since the 2011-12 season. … Bloomer has 13 total titles but has only managed to earn one in the last 20 years. Northwestern won its third title in eight years last season but has just five titles overall.


Bloomer........................ 45     33        —        78

Northwestern................. 31     31        —        62

Bloomer — Mason Madsen 33, Payton Dachel 19, Gabe Madsen 13, Aaron Price 8, John Bleskacek 3, John Barr 2.

3-point goals — M. Madsen 5, Dachel 2, Price, G. Madsen, Bleskacek.

Northwestern — Riley Stowers 24, Tanner Klobucher 15, Alex Tecker 5, Matt Lindsay 5, Mike Lindsay 4, Tyler Little 4, Kade Bartelt 3, Anthony Lupa 2.

3-point goals — Matt Lindsay, Stowers, Bartelt.

Tigers 71, SCC 69

The Tigers moved on from their loss to Bloomer with a 71-69 victory over St. Croix Central Saturday.

Stowers led the Tigers with 32 points — including perfect 8-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line. The senior scored a combined 56 points in the back-to-back games and made 21 field goals.

St. Croix Central............. 34     35        —        69

Northwestern................. 35     36        —        71

St. Croix Central — Peyton Nogal 27, Trevor Nelson 15, Matt Brandeen 13, Owen Schwechler 7, Brady Williquett 5,Will Soderberg 2.

3-point goals — Nogal 3, Williquett, Schwechler.

Northwestern — Riley Stowers 32, Tanner Klobucher 12, Alex Tecker 10, Kade Bartelt 6, Mike Lindsay 5, Matt Lindsay 2, Anthony Lupa 2, Tyler Little 2.

3-point goals — Stowers 2, Bartelt.