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MONONA — Caden Nelson’s career-best scoring effort lasted all of one day.

The Monona Grove junior guard scored a career-high 33 points Saturday night, leading the top-seeded Silver Eagles boys basketball team to a 75-67 victory over fourth-seeded Mount Horeb in a WIAA Division 2 regional final.

Nelson sank three 3-pointers and scored 17 first-half points, then was 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the second half for Monona Grove (23-1), ranked third in Division 2 in the final Associated Press poll. Nelson’s scoring outburst topped his previous best of 28 points in the Silver Eagles’ victory over Reedsburg on Friday.

“My teammates are doing a really good job of driving and dishing,” Nelson said. “We are doing a good job of getting in transition and I’ve been getting easy baskets off transition. My shot has been feeling good. My teammates are finding me for open shots and I’ve been hitting them. I just knew I had to do whatever it takes to win and in these two games it’s been scoring.”

Monona Grove’s Jake Schroeckenthaler, a 6-foot-7 senior center, had 12 points and junior guard Henry Huston added 10 points off the bench. All of Huston’s points came in the second half when the Silver Eagles pulled away from a one-point halftime lead and won their 12th consecutive game.

“I thought we played really well,” Monona Grove coach Dan Zweifel said. “Mount Horeb is a great team. They really give you some matchup problems because they all can play on the perimeter, they all can post up and they all can shoot the 3. It just really makes you have to be solid defensively for 36 minutes.”

Mount Horeb sophomore Owen Ziegler sank a 3-point shot, bringing the Vikings (18-6) within 50-47 with 11 minutes, 6 seconds remaining. Huston answered with consecutive 3-pointers, giving the Silver Eagles a 56-47 lead.

Mount Horeb junior Gunnar Nortman’s 3-pointer later closed the gap to 66-61 with 2:32 to play, but Nelson answered with two free throws with 1:34 left. The Silver Eagles were 16-for-19 from the foul line in the second half.

Senior Travis Klassy led Mount Horeb with 18 points, while juniors Dustin Zenz and Jason Larson added 17 and 14 points, respectively.

“We couldn’t quite get over the hump,” Mount Horeb coach Todd Nesheim said. “We needed the stop and we couldn’t get the stop. There is a reason they are 22-1 (entering the game). They have got the parts. They’ve got guys that can shoot. They’ve got `bigs.’ They’ve got an athletic wing player. … But we’re a good team, too.”

Monona Grove will meet second-seeded Stoughton in a sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Sun Prairie.

Mount Horeb 34 33 — 67

Monona Grove 35 40 — 75

Mount Horeb — Zenz 4 7-7 17, Klassy 7 3-3 18, Farnsworth 1 1-2 4, Post 0 0-0 0, Nortman 3 2-4 9, Larson 4 4-4 14, Rasmussen 0 0-0 0, Ziegler 1 2-2 5, Fish 0 0-0 0, Crubaugh 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 19-22 67.

MONONA GROVE — Caden Nelson 9 12-16 33, Ogden 2 1-2 5, Hepp 3 2-3 9, Huston 3 2-2 10, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Max Nelson 1 0-0 3, Thome 0 3-6 3, Schroeckenthaler 5 2-4 12. Totals 23 22-33 75.

3-point field goals — MH 8 (Zenz 2, Larson 2, Klassy, Farnsworth, Nortman, Ziegler); MG 7 (Caden Nelson 3, Huston 2, Hepp, Max Nelson). Total fouls — MH 24; MG 19. Fouled out — Max Nelson (MG).


Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.