Round 3 - Somerset vs. Prescott boys' basketball tonight
The third and final installment of the prep boys' basketball series between Prescott and Somerset takes place this evening in the semifinals of the WIAA Division 3 Eau Claire North Sectional Tournament. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at New Richmond High School.
The winner will play either No. 3 ranked Elk Mound, 21-1 overall, or defending sectional champion La Crosse Aquinas (17-7) in the finals which will be played Saturday at Eau Claire North High School, tip-off also at 7 p.m.
This game three contest between the Cardinals (20-3) and Spartans (21-3) will truly be decisive as both teams split during the regular season (Prescott won the first game 57-45 while Somerset won the second 58-40) and both teams shared the Middle Border Conference title.
The key question for PHS is whether they can bring the same performance on defense to tonight's ballgame as they've had since the beginning of the year. The Cards' have only allowed two opponents (Baldwin-Woodville and Somerset) to score more than 50 points. Pulling such a feat off against Somerset, led by top scorers like forward Gaelin Elmore and guards Jack Emmert and Heaven Hunt, will not be easy.
"Elmore and Emmert combined to score 48 of their 58 points against us when we played them the second time," PHS head coach Nick Johnson said. "So the outcome is going to come down to defense and whether we can focus on stopping (Elmore and Emmert) because we cannot let the both of them beat us."
Prescott tinkered with a potential solution in last week's regional final against Barron. Despite the short turnaround time, the Redbirds were able to play a triangle-and-two defense against the Golden Bears' top scorers, Jason Balts and Rece Dietrichs, and held them to a combined 23 points in a 55-45 win.
The view from Prescott's offense is one of balance. The Cardinals have had plenty of players adding to their tally of points in recent games instead of just a few and Johnson hopes to keep it that way.
"I want our players to be aggressive on offense," Johnson said. "I want them all to look to score because we don't want our opponents' defense to key on one player, limit him and then have it afffect everything we do."
Tonight's game will be broadcast live on KDWA 1460 AM out of Hastings and online.