Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
February Madness has gripped prep basketball and all six committed Badger recruits are still alive in their respective tournaments. While big men Vitto Brown and Ethan Happ grabbed recent headlines, we check in with Bronson Koenig and Jordan Hill as well.
Vitto Brown, F (2013)
Wednesday evening, Vitto Brown did what a big man does best: strap a team on his back and go to work.
Brown's Bowling Green (OH) team found itself facing an unenviable double-digit deficit to start the fourth quarter against Bryan. The Bobcats were only able to cut into the lead when they finally began to turn Bryan over.
And once the ball was in their hands, they turned to Brown to lead an incredible comeback:
Brown scored 12 of BG’s final 18 points including 10 straight after the Bobcats were behind 52-41 with 5:14 to go.
BG closed the game on an 18-2 run sparked by Brown’s scoring spurt.
"I knew my team needed me to step up at that crucial moment in the game," Brown said. "I knew if I attacked the basket and tried to draw some fouls then I would be able to knock down the free throws."
Knock them down, he did -- to the tune of 9-of-10 shooting from the charity stripe overall and eight straight made freebies in the final five minutes. That kind of success rate should be welcome news to Badger fans.
As a result, the Bobcats (13-10) walked away with a 59-54 win. Brown's final stat line was significant. He scored 36 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots to send second-seeded Bowling Green to a Friday night contest with No. 4 seed Napoleon, a team the Bobcats have beaten twice so far this year.
Brown's playoff production simply continues what he accomplished down the stretch during the regular season. The 6'8" senior produced several 30-point outbursts and routinely posted double-doubles. Wisconsin is no doubt excited to get Brown on campus as soon as possible to help fill the void left up front by this year's graduating seniors.
Jordan Hill, G (2013)
Phillips Exeter Academy (23-1) also lived to see another day. Jordan Hill and company scored a 69-54 win over Hotchkiss yesterday afternoon in the NEPSAC Class A bracket. Top-seeded Exeter plays in a semifinal matchup at home against Milton Academy, a 4-seed, on Friday.
Bronson Koenig, G (2013)
The main event is Thursday evening, however, as No. 1 seed La Crosse Aquinas (20-4) takes on third-seeded Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (20-4) in the WIAA Division 3 sectional semis at Osseo-Fairchild. Tip is scheduled for 7 pm if you want to catch Bronson Koenig in action.
Koenig scored 17 points last Saturday when Aquinas' used pressure defense to pull away from Prescott, 49-38, in the regional final. The Blugolds will need to put together four consistent quarters of quality basketball to get past G-E-T, whom Aquinas narrowly held on to beat by three points earlier in the season. This winner turns around to play for a spot in the state tournament on Saturday.
The fourth-ranked Blugolds have able-bodied big men Mike Conway (6'6") and Parker Weber (6'7") to support Koenig in his quest for a second state title.
Ethan Happ, F (2014)
Wisconsin's lone junior recruit continued his impressive season by pushing Rockridge (23-4) past Orion last Friday night. Ethan Happ exploded for 14 points in the second quarter, finishing with 33 points, seven rebounds and five steals in a 57-37 win.
The Rockets take on Fieldcrest Thursday night at 7:30 pm. [Follow along LIVE here!] Monmouth-Roseville, a team which Happ's Rockridge squad has already lost to twice this year, awaits the winner in Friday's Sectional Championship.
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