KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- The last few seasons the Kaukauna and Oshkosh North boys basketball teams have found themselves under the spotlight because of the type of teams they have been and Tuesday night that was once again the situation.
The teams met with the lead in Fox Valley Association on the line, as was North's 35-game regular season winning streak.
The game lived up to the hype, with Jordan McCabe and Tyrese Haliburton leading each team. Kaukauna opened a 20-point lead in the second half, North rallied to grab the lead but in the end the Galloping Ghosts outlasted North, 94-89, to forge a three-way tie atop the FVA at the midway point of the season.
"I like to say every game's the same, but this one was really big because it would allow us to control our own destiny," said McCabe, who had 41 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. "Now the conference is a three-horse race. It puts us in a good position to control our own fate."
The game was a three-point-fest. McCabe hit six 3-pointers as the Ghosts, ranked No. 3 in the FOX 11 Top 11, buried 17 threes. Eric Carl had seven on his way to 24 points. Meanwhile, No. 1 North hit 13 threes, including six from Wesley Schiek (18 points).
Kaukauna (9-2, 7-1) used its outside shooting to open a 61-41 lead, but the Spartans (11-1, 7-1), behind Haliburton (19 points) and Quincy Anderson (24), rallied to grab a 78-76 lead.
McCabe, however, was too much down the stretch, making shots and making plays, including a behind-the-back pass while on his knees to Donovan Ivory, who scored from under the basket.
"I can't really tell you what was going through my mind," McCabe said. "I see stuff as it happens. I saw a flash of white head down the baseline, saw everybody collapsing on me, I was on the floor, threw it; found a way to knife it through there."
Kaukauna coach Mike Schalow was pleased how his team responded after giving up the 20-point lead, although he would have preferred the lead never disappeared.
"We knew it was going to be hard fought," Schalow said. "Really proud of the toughness of our kids, especially when we got behind. That means a lot as we go forward through the season."
"Credit to them, they made a lot of great adjustments," McCabe said. "They did a very good job and we did a very poor job of handling it. Runs happen. We knew how to handle it, eventually."
Kaukauna, North and Kimberly each have one FVA loss with half the season to play. It promises to be quite a finish in the FVA and McCabe knew Tuesday's win was crucial.
"Every win is huge," McCabe said. "It's the best conference in the state, hands down. We prepared for this one like we did for every other game."
"We knew we had to protect our home court, it's only our third home game of the season," Schalow said. "We felt we had to get this one at home, protect home court and at the end of the year put us in a position to win the conference championship."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay