Timberwolves outlast Bunnies

Timberwolves outlast Bunnies

MILFORD — Kevin Long was disappointed with his team's offensive performance in the first half against Fisher in a Class 1A Milford Regional semifinal game on Thursday.

The Cissna Park boys' basketball coach was frustrated his top two big men — 6-foot-7 twins Christian and Julian Stadeli — weren't getting enough touches in the paint.

That changed in the second half. The Stadeli twins, who only put up a combined seven points in the first half while battling against the Bunnies' successful packed-in 2-3 zone, established themselves by combining for 11 consecutive points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Combined with the Stadeli twins getting in a rhythm on offense and on the glass, the Timberwolves also knocked down seven three-pointers, including five in the first half, to open up the inside game in an eventual 61-54 win.

"They see double teams and packed zone ... all year," Long said of Christian and Julian, who scored 14 and eight points, respectively. "I didn't think we did a very good job of giving the twins inside touches in the first half. We've got to figure out a way to get them the ball in the paint. That was definitely the biggest point of emphasis, a hard point of emphasis, in the second half. We wanted to make sure we establish the inside game."

They did and as a result, the top-seeded Timberwolves (21-8) advanced to face No. 5 Judah Christian (24-4) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the regional title game.

The eighth-seeded Bunnies (15-15) won't get a chance to win a second straight regional title, despite jumping out to a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and going into halftime tied at 24.

"I'm proud of the boys. I thought going into it we had a good game plan, and the boys executed exactly the way we wanted them to play to put us in a position to win," Fisher coach Cody Diskin said. "I thought they played one of their better games (of the season)."

The game remained tight throughout, as Jaden Jones-Watkins (19 points) split a double team and splashed a jumper to trim Fisher's deficit to 41-38 at the end of the third.

In the fourth, Jones-Watkins hit a three to cut Cissna Park's lead to 46-43, but the Timberwolves put the game away with an 11-4 run. Brian Fehr finished with 16 points to lead Cissna Park, and Ryan Meents equaled Jones-Watkins' output with 19 points, while Kade Thomas added 10 points.

"We played a really tough schedule, in the (Heart of Illinois Conference)," Diskin said. "It got us ready for the postseason, and I thought that's one of the reasons we played the No. 1 team in our regional so well."