Valders shocks Xavier, returns to state for first time since 1984

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Valders beat Xavier, 59-57, to win a Division 3 sectional final Saturday, March 10, 2018. (WLUK/Doug Ritchay)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- This season in Division 3 most of the talk has surrounded Xavier and its winning streak and not if it will when the state title, but when.

Saturday, the Hawks played Valders in a sectional final at Appleton East and Xavier got more than it wanted.

Valders, a program that has not been to state since 1984 and has lost in the sectional final to Xavier in two of the previous three seasons, including last year, shocked the Hawks, 59-57, ending Xavier's winning streak at 53 games.

"It's indescribable," Valders senior Jake Beimborn said. "We as a team and as a school have been waiting for this so long and it feels so good. It's amazing."

"We knew we could do it," Valders senior Kyle Tuma said. "We had the confidence after going through the whole season."

Tuma played a huge roll in the win, sinking three of four free throws down the stretch, including 2-for-2 with 16.8 seconds left to break a tie at 57-all.

"There was a lot of pressure," said Tuma, who added his arms felt numb in his first trip to the free-throw line.

"He had a huge second half," Schwoerer said of Tuma. "He was our guy to go to down the stretch. He got everything rolling for us offensively. He got to the free-throw line because he went to the board like a man."

After Tuma's free throws, Xavier called a timeout with just under 14 seconds to play. After the timeout Valders surprised the Hawks by dropping into a 1-3-1 zone and without star guards Hunter Plamann and Sam Ferris, who both fouled out, Xavier looked confused and coach Brian Klarner called a timeout with 3.8 seconds to play.

Out of the timeout, Xavier's Henry Egan put up a runner but it missed the Valders celebration was underway.

Schwoerer said his team did nothing new to prepare for Xavier, just remained itself, and it worked.

"We did what we were best at doing," Schwoerer said. "We can't invent the wheel over night, during the week, so we wanted to do what we were good at and that's exactly what we did.

"We've been here, we've been here, we've been here to this point and we got knocked off by Xavier a couple times so I just want to soak it up and enjoy the night and we can start preparing. The goal was to get to next week and that's what we accomplished."

"We came in and there was no pressure on us," Tuma said. "Everyone was talking about Xavier, state champions, you know. so there was no pressure, we just had to go out and play."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay