Union Grove senior Jacob Ross gets jammed in a Westosha trap last Friday in Paddock Lake. With the crucial win, the Broncos now sit atop the conference standings. (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

 

By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

For the past two seasons, Union Grove has been the foil to Westosha Central.

The Falcons had won the last six games against the Broncos, including a dominating 73-39 victory over the Grove in a WIAA Division 2 Regional Final last year. The Broncos were also eliminated by the Falcons 88-66 in the regional finals in 2016.

The Broncos finally got their long-waited revenge on the Falcons’ home floor with a 60-51 victory Friday, Jan. 19 in a Southern Lakes Conference showdown.

Sam Rampulla tallied 16 points, while Jack Pettit had 15, and Luke Nelson added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to propel Union Grove (5-1 SLC) within a half-game of first-place Westosha (6-1).

“Considering what they did to us in the regional last year, I wasn’t sure if the kids had the confidence that they could win at Westosha,” Pettit said. “For high school kids, a 35-point loss weighs heavily on them, but you could see their confidence grow as the game went on.”

The Broncos gained success inside and out against the Falcons’ zone. Rampulla and Nelson combined to score 26 points in the paint to help complement the guards.

“We kept Sam in by the basket a bit more than in other games where he sometimes is away from the hoop,” Pettit said. “Our guards got him the ball where he was comfortable and he scored.”

“Luke was outstanding as well. He is an undersized post player, but he is really solid offensively and gives us a physicality that we don’t always have.”

The balanced offensive attack helped the Grove grab a 27-23 lead at halftime.

The Grove maintained the lead until the Falcons broke even at 41 in the second half.

The Broncos, however, responded and regained the lead and held on the rest of the way. Pettit, Nelson and Riley Hale each sank clutch free throws down the stretch to preserve the confidence-building victory.

“It was a good week of basketball for us,” Union Grove boys basketball coach Dave Pettit said. “We put in a different offense to attack their 1-3-1 defense, because last year, their 1-3-1 killed us, and the kids ran it to perfection.”

The Broncos were able to get a head start on preparing for attacking zones with their matchup with Shorewood. Union Grove erased an early 10-1 lead and eventually dissected the zone on its way to a 71-60 victory Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Pettit led the way with 29 points, and became just the third player in the program history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark. Pettit is on pace to break the all-time scoring mark later this season.

“It was good to get 1,000 points off Jack’s bucket list, but it’s a heck of an accomplishment,” Pettit said. “His shooting percentage was down the past few games so it was good to see him hitting shots.”

Riley Hale also added 18 points, while Daxton Cramer chipped in 11 for the Broncos, who closed out the first half outscoring Shorewood 28-13.

The Broncos hit a lull early in the second half and trailed 37-31.

But it was all Union Grove after that as Pettit and Hale helped their team outscore Shorewood 40-23 the rest of the way.

“We got moving a little bit more, and I put our big at high post and Jack went back out on the perimeter and moved the ball well,” Pettit said. “Then we got down six before pulling away from there.”

The Broncos look to maintain their first-place standing tonight when they host Delavan-Darien in the first of three straight home games. Union Grove also hosts Burlington on Tuesday and then Wilmot next Friday.

“We play five of our last eight games at home with a lot of our toughest conference games at home,” Pettit said. “I certainly can’t complain with that, but it’s still on us to win those games.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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