Jason Treutelaar referenced the David and Goliath story Saturday night with his players and challenged them to take a stone out of their bag, put it into a sling and “hit the Philistine right in the head.”
The Horlick High School boys basketball team followed their coach’s challenge. And they came through with one of the biggest upsets in the history of high school sports in Racine County.
With Marquise Milton scoring 24 of his 35 points in the second half, the Rebels stunned top-ranked Madison East 74-67 in a WIAA Division 1 regional championship at Madison East.
East (22-2) finished the regular season ranked No. 1 among Division 1 teams in the Associated Press state poll. Horlick, which lost four starters from last year’s team, is 11-13.
The Rebels advance to a 7 p.m. sectional semifinal Thursday against Sun Prairie at Verona. Sun Prairie (18-6) advanced with a 61-59 victory over Madison Memorial Saturday night.
Referencing his David and Goliath story, Treutelaar said, “We had to have that kind of mentality tonight where we were going to go out and we were going to be the aggressor. We got off to a 6-0 lead.
“We had talked about playing some different defenses, but we decided to go with the girl who brought us to the dance and that was our man-to-man defense. That’s what we’ve been playing all season and we decided to hang our hat on that tonight. We talked about going zone, but we just didn’t feel that would be right.”
And then there was Milton, Horlick’s only returning starter this season who is averaging 27.0 points per game. After scoring 11 points in the first half, Milton carried the Rebels with his 24 points in the second half. He went 11 for 12 from the free-throw line, all in the second half.
“I told the team that they (East) may have the No. 1 ranking, but we have the No. 1 player on the floor tonight,” Treutelaar said. “And that’s the most important thing. We had the best player on the floor in Marquise Milton.
“Speaking of Milton’s success at the free-throw line, “Treutelaar added, “We needed to get him the ball and the way they were playing defense with their pressuring, he was able to get into the paint. And when that kid gets into the paint, good things happen, whether it’s an ‘and one,’ a layup or going to the free-throw line. Very rarely do bad things happen when he gets into the paint.”
Keonte Jones did most of the damage for East with 24 points while Montae Thompson added 16. Anthony Washington, East’s leading scorer at 16.9 points a game, had just three.
“He had two fouls and then he picked up his third one,” Treutelaar said. “I’ll be honest — he wasn’t the same guy after that. He just never got into the flow of the game.”
Stephon Chapman added 10 points for the Rebels. Leonte Ellis and Maurice Ward added nine each.
WAUNAKEE 53, PARK 50: The Panthers led by six points with 2:20 to play, but lost this WIAA Division 1 regional championship in Park’s fieldhouse.
The Panthers missed shots late, including all three free throws they attempted in the final minute, and the Warriors (15-9) closed out with free throws of their own, Park coach Jim Betker said.
Larry Canady, Park’s all-time leading scorer, had 16 points in his final high school game. Nobal Days, another four-year starter who will be playing for the University of New Orleans next season, had four points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Park led 22-17 at halftime.
“It’s unfortunate,” Betker said. “I am terribly disappointed for this group of seniors. They meant a lot to this program. I thought this was our year. We didn’t quit. But we came up short tonight.”
PRAIRIE 72, PALMYRA-EAGLE 63: After not winning a regional title for over a decade, the Hawks have now won three straight following their win against Palmyra-Eagle at Prairie.
And it was mainly due to their stellar free-throw shooting in the second half.
The Hawks (14-10) didn’t take a single free throw in the first half, but made 17 of 21 in the second half.
Quinton Stafford and Christian Cape led Prairie with 23 and 17 points respectively and combined to hit nine 3-pointers. Prairie scored 15 collectively.
Palmyra-Eagle (18-6) was led by Revin Schneider who scored a team-high 16 points, all of which came in the second half.
“Two nights in a row with four minutes left and a one- or two-possession game; I may need to look into some blood pressure medication,” Prairie coach Jason Atanasoff said. “I’m unbelievably proud of this group. Not much was expected of them outside our program and they just continue to work hard and buy in. Christian Cape was out of his mind tonight and I’m so happy for him and this group of guys.“
Prairie will play in the sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Brown Deer against the Milwaukee Academy of Science. The Novas advanced with a 117-95 victory over HOPE Christian.