Dale Forstner has seen a lot of great basketball teams in his 14 years as Stockbridge boys basketball coach. The Hustisford squad that his group ran into last week may not be the best, but Forstner came away with the “wow factor.”
Featuring a starting front line of players 6’9 and 6’6, the number two seeded Falcons overwhelmed Stockbridge, 82-28, in a WIAA Division 5 Sectional Semifinal game last week Thursday in Hustisford.
Stockbridge was making their first-ever trip to a sectional.
Good start, then down hill
Dylan Kuehl, a 6’6 senior guard, was a one-man wrecking crew for Husty outscoring Stockbridge by himself with a 33-point, ten-rebound night. He was 15-22 from the field and also found time to dish out four assists.
“We started out real good,” says Forstner about the early part of the game.
“It was 12-10 and then Hustisford just took off on us.”
It would be 52-18 Falcons and halftime and the game would go to running clock at the nine-minute mark of the second half.
It marked the end to a tremendous run by a group of SHS seniors. Mike Holzer, Levi Piper, Colten Head, Sam Gollnick, Aaron Bunnell and Zach Daun saw their final action for the Indians, and then there is Jake Willett, another senior who was the leading scorer and rebounder before an injury ended his season about a month ago.
Forstner reflected back on the season and his seniors.
“It hurt when we lost Jake, but this group is so resilient. We had so many different guys step up. This senior group really raised the bar for this program. Each of their three seasons was a big improvement on wins and then this year, we set the school record for wins in a season and won our the first regional title in school history. The community support was tremendous despite the COVID restrictions.”
Stockbridge finished with 21 wins and just four losses. This senior group was 50-21 the past three seasons.
Forstner made this prediction.
“I would be shocked if Hustisford doesn’t win state. They are that good. But we won’t let tonight take away from this season.”
The Falcons are well on their way to making good on that prediction.
Last Saturday, Husty traveled to number one seed Monticello for the sectional crown and with a trip to state on the line. Hustisford dominated the Ponies, 70-43, and will make their first ever trip to state.
Despite a two seed in sectionals, the WIAA has given Hustisford the number one seed at state and the Falcons, 16-3 overall, will face the four seed Wauzeka-Steuben, 16-2, in the state tourney opener Thursday morning at 9:05 am. Chippewa Falls McDonell (16-4) and Green Bay NEW Lutheran (16-10) are the other entrants with the two semifinal winners meeting Thursday night at 6:30 at the La Crosse Center for the state championship.