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UWS men's basketball team advances

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an installment of "The Yellowjacket Buzz," a weekly column by Mike Sylvester of the University of Wisconsin-Superior athletic department. "The Buzz" runs weekly in The Daily Telegram during the fall, winter and spr...

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an installment of "The Yellowjacket Buzz," a weekly column by Mike Sylvester of the University of Wisconsin-Superior athletic department. "The Buzz" runs weekly in The Daily Telegram during the fall, winter and spring sports seasons.

'Jackets strike twice

The University of Wisconsin-Superior men's basketball team scored the upset of the season when it went on the road and beat nationally-ranked UW-Oshkosh in the WIAC season finale last Saturday.

So when the Yellowjackets had to head back to Oshkosh to meet the Titans in the first round of the WIAC Tournament on Monday, it seemed unlikely that the 'Jackets would enjoy a similar result.

A little hard work, two late free throws by Dan Culy and a steal by Jake Smith with four seconds left helped UWS to a 67-66 win over the Titans.

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It was the fourth consecutive win for UWS, with three of those coming against nationally-ranked opponents.

"This run has meant so much to our program," UWS coach Dave Buchanan said. "For our guys to keep battling and working the entire way is a true testament to their character and commitment to each other and the program. To not only beat Platteville at home in the season finale, but also beat Oshkosh twice in three days at their place really shows the strides and improvement our players have made.

"To be honest, it has everything to do with the defensive end of the floor. They are really becoming committed to getting stops, and it is paying off."

Culy scored a team-high 25 points for UWS, while Smith had 21 points and Shane Manor chipped in with 14 points.

Oshkosh had entered last week ranked 20th in the country, and was 17-7, before dropping a pair of home games to the upstart Yellowjackets.

"As far as beating a team twice on their floor, it is extremely difficult," Buchanan said. "I think that would go for any team you play, much less a team that is very experienced and talented like Oshkosh. Our guys showed toughness and poise, and on the road you need that."

Things won't get any easier for the Yellowjackets (12-14) as they again hit the road to play fourth-ranked Whitewater (22-4) at 7 p.m. today. The Warhawks beat the Yellowjackets twice this year during the regular season.

"Whitewater will be a test," Buchanan said. "There is no question about that. However, I really believe we are guarding people so much better than we did early in the season, that we can really give them a battle.

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"This is a different team now, with different expectations. Our players are using each experience to gain confidence and we really feel that we can compete with Whitewater. We just need to stick to the plan, work together, and give a great effort."

UWS wins title

The UWS women's hockey team captured the NCHA regular-season title by sweeping Finlandia 4-0 and 6-3 last weekend. The wins were the 10th in a row for the Yellowjackets, who are now 20-4-1 overall.

With the wins, UWS will host the O'Brien Cup this weekend, which involves all six NCHA teams.

Hockey falls in mini-game

The men's hockey team didn't fare quite so well, as it was eliminated from NCAA contention after losing to Eau Claire in the first round of the NCHA playoffs last weekend.

The Yellowjackets lost to the Blugolds 4-2 on Friday, but came back to win 5-0 on Saturday, to force the mini-game, which they ended up losing 1-0.

Andrew MacKenzie and Brian Bina scored the goals on Friday. On Saturday, Dane Bushey had a pair of goals, while Talon Berlando, Logan Isley and Art Clark scored the others for UWS, which finishes its season at 13-6-8.

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Women end season

The UWS women's basketball team ended its season with a win over Finlandia and a loss at Oshkosh last week. Against Finlandia, Ashley Laidley scored 16 points to lead UWS, while teammate Anna Petersen added 13 points. Both Kelsey Thingvold and Chelsey McNabb added 10 points for UWS. Against Oshkosh, Thingvold scored a team-high 11 points.

Hosting conference meet

UWS will host the WIAC indoor track and field championship at the Health and Wellness Center this weekend. On Friday, the men's portion of the meet will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The women's meet will begin at that time and end at approximately 7:15 p.m. On Saturday, the finals for men and women will begin at 11 a.m.

The event is expected to draw between 500 and 700 athletes and is open to the public.

Mike Sylvester is an assistant softball coach at UWS. He can be reached by e-mail at msylvest@uwsuper.edu .

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