MADISON – Most players would be shocked to put up the kind of numbers Kaukauna sophomore Jordan McCabe did in his first state tournament appearance, but most players are as confident in their abilities as the 5-11 point guard.
The Fox Valley Association player of the year was not only surprised to finish his first state tournament with 55 points on 17-for-29 shooting (58.6 percent), he expected it.
“The brighter the lights are, that’s when the big players start to step up,” McCabe said. “That’s when big teams step up, and that’s when you see 29-point wins for us … We were very confident coming in.”
Second-ranked Kaukauna won its first state boys’ basketball title in style, tying a 39-year-old record for most points scored in a division 2 title game with a 91-62 victory over top-ranked Waunakee Saturday to win the WIAA Division 2 boys basketball title.
McCabe scored a game-high 24 points, to go along with six assists, five rebounds and four assists, for the Galloping Ghosts (26-2), whose 29-point margin of victory broke a d2 title game record that had stood for 38 years.
Shooting 52.2 percent, including 61.1 percent in the second half, while holding the Warriors to 30.3 percent and 4-for-22 from 3-point range, McCabe helped the Ghosts win their six postseason games by an average of 23.2 points.
McCabe dazzled on Friday with his 31 points, a combination of getting into the lane and converting off the dribble and hitting from the perimeter. He also played with flair, faking a behind-the-back pass and hitting a fall-away jumper from the baseline.
On championship Saturday, he scored 10 of the team’s first 16 points, notched three steals with his quick hands and put on dazzling displays of dribbling as if he had the ball on a string. Held scoreless for the rest of the half, McCabe got back to work coming out of the locker room, making it look much too easy.
When he drained his fourth 3-pointer, McCabe held up three fingers to the large Kaukauna student section, who promptly chanted “this one’s over” with nine minutes still on the clock.
“He gives great comfort, first of all, in knowing you have a player who is extremely confident in his skill set, who puts in a tremendous amount of hours into the game of basketball outside of the season,” Kaukauna head coach Mike Schalow said of McCabe. “That’s where players are made, outside the season. When you have someone who works as hard as Jordan does and prepares for each game as hard as he does, this stage was not too big.”
McCabe currently holds offers from DePaul, Green Bay, Milwaukee, Missouri, West Virginia and many others. Wisconsin and head coach Greg Gard continue to be heavily involved.
Hauser helps cap perfect season
Stevens Point seniors Sam Hauser (Marquette) and Trevor Anderson (Green Bay) scored a combined 43 points to cap off a 28-0 season with an 89-64 victory over Muskego in the division 1 championship Saturday night. UW didn’t offer either player, but the Badgers are certainly going after Point sophomore Joey Hauser.
Hauser was a solid third fiddle in the title game, finishing with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and only one turnover. He was 2-for-5 from 2-point range, 2-for-3 from 3-point range and 3-for-3 from the line.
“Having Joe here has been phenomenal,” said Anderson. “A 6-8 guy who can shoot it, you can’t really ask for much more than that.”
Gard has told Hauser that he’s the program’s top target for the 2018, not surprising since the 6-7 forward is only scratching the surface of his potential. Marquette is also heavily involved and head coach Steve Wojciechowski watched the Panthers play Saturday. Hauser said he likely won’t decide until after the 2017 AAU season.
The Golden Eagles are the presumed favorite, but the Badgers are right there in the mix.
King, Herro struggle in division 2
La Crosse Central shooting guard Kobe King will have plenty of opportunities to get used to the rims at the Kohl Center, but the lone 2017 commit for the Badgers never found his rhythm Friday.
Averaging over 25 points per game, King was held to nine points on 3-for-15 shooting in the Red Raiders’ 72-45 loss to Kaukauna.
“He could never quite get going,” Todd Fergot, King’s coach, said. “He usually has a second gear he’s able to hit for us and he wasn’t able to get that.”
Not only was King blanked in one-on-one coverage, Kaukauna typically sent multiple athletic, long defenders to collapse down on him. Throw in the fact that a banged-up hand made it hard to catch the ball in the second half, King could only watch and some high-percentage looks rolled off the rim.
“My shots weren’t falling today and there wasn’t much I could do,” said King.
King was also out shined by McCabe, a good friend and teammate with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors.
“He’s one of the best players in state,” King said. “I’ve been guarding him for a while and he’s a good friend of mine, but he couldn’t miss. Props to him. He played really well.”
With only four seniors on the roster, King – who is firmly committed to Wisconsin with Gard being retained as head coach – will be the one leading the offseason charge to get back to the state playoffs.
“I thought he handled things well,” Fergot said. “It’s going to be great for us down the road to be able to see him play at the Kohl Center, for him to have a chance to play here as a junior in high school was a phenomenal opportunity for him.”
Just as King was taking the floor, Tyler Herro was licking his woods from his Whitnall’s 62-59 loss to Waunakee. Herro scored 20 points, but was 8-for-21 from the field, including 1-for-6 from 3-point range, and four turnovers. The sophomore holds seven offers, including Creighton, Marquette and Wisconsin.
Five straight for Dominican
After registering 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in Whitefish Bay Dominican’s semifinals win, senior Kostas Antetokounmpo capped his high school career with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the Knight’s 62-43 victory over Cameron in the division 4 title game. The Knights became the first boys’ basketball program to win five straight state titles.
A four-star recruit rated the No.19 shooting forward in the country, the 6-11 Antetokounmpo holds offers from Iowa State and Memphis. Wisconsin has not been in major contact and it’s thought he could go to a prep school and reclassify to the 2017 class.