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Ramblers once more edge Prescott in playoffs

Prescott's Tim Harris brings the ball up the floor against the pressure defense of Eau Claire Regis' Jimmy Donnellan. Harris led the Cardinals in scoring with 14 points but PHS fell to the Ramblers 58-49 in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal contest Thursday at Somerset. Photo by Sean Scallon

SOMERSET -- Eau Claire Regis' Adam Ganske did the center jump for the Ramblers at the tip-off the WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal basketball game vs. Prescott Thursday.

Somehow Ganske came back down to the floor and crumpled to the court with an apparent knee injury. He had to be helped over to the sidelines, putting no weight on his injured knee.

Yet, Ganske recovered quickly and found himself back in the ballgame.

And he made sure everyone knew it.

Ganske, a 6-3 junior forward, had 23 points to lead the Ramblers to a 58-49 win over the Cardinals. It's the fourth season in a row Regis has eliminated Prescott from the playoffs.

Big things in small packages

Regis, 19-5 overall, only had four players score a single point or more on their entire roster.

Yet Ganske's 23 points, plus 20 points from sophomore guard Connor Miller and 13 points from senior center Nick Bowe, offset their lack of scoring balance throughout their line-up.

Besides, PHS, 9-15 overall, had just five players score led by 14 points from Tim Harris, 13 points from Zach Charette, 11 from David Jerrick and nine points from Chris Krech. Nate Murphy wound up with two points.

Prescott head coach Corey Morning was still pleased with his team's defensive effort.

"Regis is big, quick and athletic," Morning said. "They're a tough team for any ballclub to handle defensively and we did the job for three quarters. But it wasn't enough."

From the very end of the third quarter until the final buzzer, the Ramblers outscored the Cardinals 20-11. Jerrick had tied the score at 38-38 with a pair of free-throws, but a basket by Miller before the third quarter buzzer put Regis in front 40-38.

In the final eight minutes, the trio of Miller, Ganske and Bowe dominated, building up Regis' lead to eight points at 46-38 before the Cards called time-out. Then they pushed the lead to 10 points at 54-44 and got their biggest lead of the ballgame, 11 points at 57-46, with a minute to play.

"I thought we did a good job of rebounding as we've had throughout the tournament and we did not give up second chance points," Morning said. "But they shot very well, especially in the second half. They shot free-throws well too, which kept us from making any comebacks while the clock was stopped."

Indeed, while PHS shot a very good 14-for-17 from the line, Regis went 11-for-14 and in fouling towards the end of the ballgame, the Cards lost two starters in Charette and Jake Olson.

Take the reigns

Prescott got off to a good start with 17-13 first quarter lead and maintained that four-point lead 28-24 just before halftime.

But 5-0 Regis surge just before the break put the Ramblers in front 29-28 and was an ominous portent for the rest of the ballgame. The Ramblers went in front on a Miller three-pointer, one of five Regis had compared to three for the Cards.

Although any loss is tough, especially when it's to the same opponent for the fourth straight time, Cardinals players, coaches and fans can look back with pride with all the team accomplished in just a few short weeks. Morning credits his team's seven seniors for leading the way to a regional title.

"They took the reins of this team and led," Morning said. "That's what you want them to do and they did so. They never gave up on themselves or the team. That's shows a great deal of character that's not going to be forgotten."