MADISON - Martin Luther lived up to its No. 1 state ranking with a record-setting 96-61 win over the Northwestern High School Tigers in the Division 3 semifinals of the 104th annual WIAA state boys basketball tournament Thursday, March 14, at the Kohl Center.

The Spartans (24-3) set a D3 state tournament record for points scored in a game and senior guard Trequan Carrington scored a record-setting 41 points, breaking the old mark of 36 points by Marshall’s Jon Krull in 2002.

Martin Luther, which is located in Greenfield, will now play Waupun (26-1) in the championship game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16.

Waupun advanced with a 60-43 win over Denmark in the second semifinal game.

Waupun took a 21-game winning streak to state, following a 79-64 loss to Martin Luther in its sixth game.

“They jumped on us right away,” NHS coach Nolan Graff said. “We tried to anticipate their speed and their quickness, but once we got on the floor with the bright lights and all the people, we were a bit shell-shocked. But ultimately we were a little bit over matched by a very good team.”

The Tigers, whose season ends at 21-6, were led by senior Brody Payton’s 19 points, which included 5-of-6 shooting on 3-pointers. Junior Andrew Klobucher was next with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.

“Brody played a great game today,” Graff said. “Sam (Risley) had three early fouls and that put us in a bad spot right from the beginning. But Brody put us on our shoulders, he was our offense. With the ball he was strong and composed against a very good defensive team.”

Martin Luther missed four shots on the game’s first possession, but then scored six straight points and 16 of the next 18 for a 16-2 lead. The only Tiger points in the opening five minutes were two free throws by Sam Risley.

Following a Tiger time out, Payton nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner and came up with a steal and layup, which cut the Spartan lead to 16-7.

After a Carrington basket and a free throw by Ace Evans upped the Spartans’ lead to 19-7, the Tigers got a back-to-back 3-pointers from Andrew Klobuchar and 2-pointers from Payton and Jagar Stillson to get within 23-17.

But the Spartans followed with an 8-0 run and quickly got their lead back to 31-17.

“We settled in there and made a nice little run,” Graff said. “Andrew’s a nice player, an instant offense-type of guy for us, he’s been that way for us all season. He provided a little spark, and made some big shots for us.

Jake Brill and Stillson then sandwiched 3-pointers around a Carrington basket bringing the Tigers within 33-23, but the Spartans gradually built a 17-point lead before Jenner Graff’s 3-pointer got the Tigers within 42-28 with 1:15 left in the first half.

The half ended at 46-31 after a Tiger basket by Payton and Spartan baskets by Carrington and Evans.

“We also made a push to get within nine right before the half, but we had a couple of bad turnovers that led to them getting their lead back to 15,” Nolan Graff said.

Martin Luther scored 24 of the first 28 points of the second half for a 70-35 lead with Risley accounting for all four of the Tigers’ points with a basket and two free throws.

The Spartans’ took their largest lead of the game, 86-49, with 6:05 remaining and the score was 88-52 when both teams cleared the benches with 5:13 left.

Second-half highlights for the Tigers were three more 3-pointers by Payton, one each by Klobucher and Stillson, and then Carsen Nykanen’s half-court 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

“We had a good season, but it’s over,” Payton said. “I’m a little shook right now, but we played well as a team throughout the season. Today didn’t come out as we wanted it to, but we have a good junior class that will work hard and get back here next season.”

Seniors playing in their final game for the Tigers were Payton, Hayden Dupree, Jenner Graff, Michael Knaack, Risley, Greg Ruhman and Gervase Thompson.

“For me, in my first year coaching at high school, it’s been a storybook year,” coach Graff said. “I’ve been coaching these guys since they were seventh graders, so it’s been a special time. You couldn’t ask for a better group. We just ran into a little bit of a buzz saw.

“I’m so proud of my guys. The way the battled and played right until the end.”

TIGER TALES: Martin Luther won the turnover battle 21-2. … Maple and Greendale, where Martin Luther is located, are 384 miles apart. In tuning up for Thursday’s game, the Tigers practiced on Wednesday and had a shoot-around on Thursday morning at Waunakee High School … This was Northwestern’s fourth trip to the state tournament. The Tigers went 0-1 in 2005 and 2009 and finished second in 2010 when they defeated Kiel 76-71, but lost to Catholic Memorial 60-48 in the championship game. … Tiger assistant coach Ken Bartelt, who coached the Tiger girls to its only state tournament in 1999, won the D4 state title as head coach of Monticello (26-1) in 1991. … Neenah (D1) has tied Superior (Central and SHS) in state tournament appearances with 27. Beloit has 26. Superior East also advanced to state six times. … ML coach Paul Wollersheim has a 21-year record of 427-92.


Martin Luther 46-50-96

Northwestern 31-30-61

Martin Luther - Trequan Carrington 41, Ace Evens 21, Xavier Jones 7, Garrett Moore 1,  Joey Immekus 9, Shaun Harrison 4, Ryan Scholfield 5, Omovie Backstrom 2, Jeramie King 4, Tywon Robinson 2. Totals: 40 12-20 96.

3-point goals - Immekus 3 Schofield.

Northwestern - Brody Payton 19, Jagar Stillson 8, Jake Brill 3, Jenner Graff 3, Andrew Klobucher 11, Sam Risley 6, Dayne Evanson 1, Nolan Gusfafson 2, Greg Ruhman 3, Gervase Thompson 2, Carsen Nykanen 3. Totals 21 6-9 61.

3-point goals - Payton 5, Klobucher 3, Stillson 2, Brill, Graff, Nykanen.


WIAA Boys State Basketball Tournament

Kohl Center, Madison


Friday, March 15

Brookfield Central (21-5) vs. Neenah (19-7), 6:35 p.m.

Sun Prairie (20-6) vs. West Allis Central (22-3), 8:15 p.m.

Saturday, March 16

Championship Game

Semifinal winners, 8:15 p.m.


Friday, March 15

Nicolet (25-1) vs. Elkhorn Area (23-3), 1:35 p.m.

La Crosse Central (24-2) vs. Milw. Washington (21-5), 3:15 p.m.

Saturday, March 16

Championship Game

Semifinal winners, 6:35 p.m.


Thursday, March 14

Martin Luther 96, Northwestern 61

Waupun 60, Denmark 43

Saturday, March 16

Championship Game

Martin Luther 24-3) vs. Waupun (26-1), 2:30 p.m.


Thursday, March 14

Roncalli (26-0) vs. New Glarus (24-2), 6:35 p.m.

Osseo-Fairchild (24-2) vs. Lourdes Academy (25-1), 8:15 p.m.

Saturday, March 16

Championship Game

Semifinal winners, 12:45 p.m.


Friday, March 15

Sheboygan Area Lutheran (25-2) vs. McDonell Central (18-9), 9:05 a.m.

Bangor (25-1) vs. Columbus Catholic (25-1), 10:45 a.m.

Saturday, March 16

Championship Game

Semifinal winners, 11 a.m.