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Badgers rally falls short to Beloit Memorial

March 07, 2009 | 07:38 PM

Beloit – Faced with a 10 point deficit with just 6:47 left to play, the Badger boys basketball team decided to do whatever it could to attempt to win.

The Badgers made a solid rally, but it wasn't enough Saturday afternoon against top-seeded Beloit Memorial in a 63-58 regional final defeat.

"I think we got a couple of easy baskets and two easy layups," Badger senior guard Braden Tice said. "We just got some momentum. We really didn't make shots when we needed to to pull away from them.

"They made shots and we didn't. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. The effort was outstanding, everyone played their hearts out, but it just didn't go our way today."

Austin Gaugert nailed one of his four 3-pointers and Justin Bowers followed that up with a 3-point play to cut the deficit to four with 3:23 left. Gaugert had a team-high 17 points.

The Purple Knights moved the lead back to seven on a triple by Sharod Stone, who had a game-high 21 points.

But the Badgers weren't done yet. Bowers and Gaugert struck again with two layups to cut the lead to three with 2:15 left.

Stone came up big again as he hit two free throws with 39.3 seconds. The Badgers answered back with two free throws by Preston Dailey as 20.3 ticks remained. On the inbound pass, Gaugert nearly stole the ball, but the Purple Knights retained possession and sealed the game with a couple of free throws by Jahlil Smith.

"The fourth quarter we rebounded a little bit better," Badger coach Forrest Larson said. "We forced some turnovers, (Henri) Lorenzi made a couple of good steals in the post. We rebounded with them…and we crawled back into it."

Larson said earlier in the week that it was essential for his team to not turn the ball over due to the quickness and athletisism of Memorial. The Purple Knights utilized that on a couple of occasions.

"It's a killer when you turn the ball over on the perimeter and give up some easy baskets," Larson said. "We gave up some easy ones tonight, you can't do that against a good team."

The Badgers nailed six 3's, which is below what Larson said needed to be made in order to win.

"For us to win we knew we had to be in double digits in 3's," he said. "We were three or four 3-pointers away from winning the game. We've been consistently making nine, 10, 11, 12. With our size and the way we play we need to make shots."

After starting the year 2-5, the Badgers finished the season with a 12-10 mark, including winning seven of their last nine games.

"It started rough and ended (much) better," Gaugert said.

The careers ended for five Badger seniors in Tice, Lorenzi, Gaugert, Chris Lois and Alex Chironis. Tice, Lorenzi and Chironis were four-year varsity players.

"You don't want this to be your last game," Larson said. "All five of our seniors are great kids, I loved coaching them. Chris Lois, Gaugert and those other three guys. It's been great coaching those guys last couple of years and those other three guys for the last four."

Tice, who was the team's leading scorer with a 12.3 average, said he'll miss the camaraderie he's had for years with his teammates.

"We've been playing together since sixth grade," Tice said. "So we've gotten to know each other and become good friends. I'm just glad I got to spend four years with those guys."

Chironis agreed with his teammate

"There's nothing like it," Chironis said. "It's been a fun ride. It had its ups and downs and I'm really going to miss it."

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