Junior point guard John Grohn scored 16 points in another balanced effort as Northwestern won its fourth straight game while handing host Hurley its first loss, 82-70, in a high school boys basketball nonconference game Tuesday, Dec. 29.
Monte Mayberry (13 points), Bennett and Jase Nelson (12 apiece) and Aiden Kroeplin (nine) gave the Tigers (4-1) four players with at least nine points.
Dominic Croci knocked down five 3-pointers and had 25 points to lead Hurley (5-1), but the Northstars couldn't overcome a slow start as they found themselves trailing 43-29 at the break.
“It was a big win,” Tigers coach Nolan Graff said. “They are a solid team with a lot of size. They are currently the 10th-ranked team in Wisconsin Division 5. Hurley did a really good job of getting second-chance points. We were without one of our top rebounders tonight (the 6-foot-4 Preston Brilla) and they took advantage of us inside. That was the biggest thing that kept them in the game. We would have a terrific possession on defense, force a tough shot and they would get the offensive rebound and finish with a kick out 3-pointer or put back. Those plays are back breakers.”
Fortunately for the Tigers, they keep scoring at a consistently high pace, averaging 79.4 points per game and 82.5 ppg since opening the season with an 87-67 loss Dec. 5 at St. Croix Central.
“We got (Hurley) to play at our pace and when we can do that we feel we will win a lot of games,” Graff said. “We are one of the top 10 highest scoring teams in the state right now (No. 3 in Division 3), and we played the game at our pace. We play fast and physical and we did a good job of dictating the flow of the game.”
Northwestern — John Grohn 16, Monte Mayberry 13, Bennett Nelson 12, Aiden Kroeplin 9, Harrison Nelson 6, Jase Nelson 12, Cole Lahti 12, C.J. Thompson 2. Totals 33 6-8 82.
3-point goals — Lahti 4, Kroeplin 3, Grohn 2, Mayberry.
Hurley — Matt DiGiorgio 5, Eli Talsma 16, Dominic Croci 25, Derek Ransanici 9, Tony Cummings 2, Braxton Sbraggia 13. Totals 24 15-22 70.
3-point goals — Croci 5, DiGiorgio, Talsma.