East Troy falls short in state semifinal

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John Barry
March 20, 2015

MADISON—East Troy's boys basketball team deserves to be playing for a Division 3 state title today.

The Trojans dominated Appleton Xavier for much of Friday's state semifinal game.

Unfortunately, there will be no gold ball.

The Trojans will be spectators after Xavier rallied late for a 70-69 win.

East Troy had a chance to put the game away at the free-throw line but missed all six of its attempts in the second half, including the first attempts on three critical one-and-one opportunities in the last 1:42.

Xavier (24-3) plays defending state champ Brown Deer (24-4) in today's final.

East Troy is left wondering what could have been in falling to 0-3 in state tournament games.

“This is a tough one to swallow because we played so well,” East Troy coach Darryl Rayfield said. “But we knew that Xavier was a tough-minded team that was going to keep coming after us.

“And we didn't take care of the ball like we needed to. It's just a tough, tough loss, especially for our seniors, who have meant so much for our program.”

Xavier led twice the entire game. The Hawks led early 3-2, but Joey Ciriacks' 3-pointer gave the Trojans a 5-3 lead with 6:40 left in the first. East Troy then led the entire way until Sam Burkart made two clutch free throws with six seconds left to put Xavier ahead, 70-69.

The Trojans got one last look to win the game, but Will Iloncae's last-second shot from the right corner came up short.

Starters Connor Mitchell and Justin Growel fouled out in the fourth, which also hurt the Trojans. Mitchell was the team's leading scorer, while Growel the top rebounder.

“East Troy played a great game,” Xavier coach Matt Klarner said. “Their two guards were much quicker than they looked on film.

“But I thought by the end of the game, their legs were getting tired, and some shots were coming up a little short.”

Iloncaie led a balanced attack for East Troy. The senior had a game-high 25 points and six assists. Ciriacks added 17 points, and Mitchell chipped in 15 before fouling out.

The teams combined for 16 3-pointers, including 10 by the Hawks. East Troy made five 3s the first half but was only 1 for 7 in the second.

“I thought we were in a great position at the end there,” Iloncaie said. “If we make one or two of those free throws, we win the game.”


East Troy (69)—Ciriacks 7-0-17; Remsza 5-2-12: Growel 0-0-0; Iloncaie 10-2-25; Mitchell 7-1-15. Totals: 29-5-69.

Xavier (70)—Simons 4-0-10; Kinderman 7-4-20; DeYoung 2-0-4; Van Hammond 3-0-8; Burkhart 3-7-14; Headington 0-1-1; Plamann 3-4-13. Totals: 22-16-70,

East Troy 19 21 19 10—69

Xavier 18 18 16 18—70

Three-point goals—East Troy 6 (Ciriacks 3, Iloncaie 3), Xavier 10 (Plamann 3, Kinderman 2, Van Hammond 2, Simons 2, Burkart). Free throws missed—East Troy 6, Xavier 7. Total fouls—East Troy 21, Xavier 15. Fouled out—Growel, Mitchell.

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