The Mauston Golden Eagles boys basketball team travelled to Viroqua to take on the #2 seeded Blackhawks in WIAA Regional Semi-Final action on Friday night. Mauston came out solid in the first quarter and caught Viroqua off-guard. The Golden Eagles got out to an early lead, and held onto a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was just as exciting as the two teams went back and forth. The difference in the game came in the final minutes of the first half when Viroqua took the lead, and then capitalized on a few Mauston mistakes. The Blackhawks took a 6 point lead into halftime, 34-28, and they would never give up the lead again.

Viroqua extended their lead in the third quarter, and Mauston didn’t have an answer to get back in the game. The Blackhawks led 57-43 after the third quarter, and they would hold on to win it by 9 in the end. The Golden Eagles kept fighting, but they could never get closer than 9 points in the fourth quarter.

Viroqua was led by their two 6’6″ seniors, Ben Brooke and David King. Brooke led all scorers with 23 points on the night, while¬†King added a solid 17 points for Viroqua, and fellow senior Gabe Chotzen had 16 points. Also in double digits was sophomore Shawn Achenbach who had three 3-pointers, and 11 points total. Other scorers included senior Brandon Howell with one 3-pointer, senior David Lund added 2 points, and senior Ross Huber finished with one free-throw. The Blackhawks made 21 of 25 from the free-throw line, and had six 3-pointers in the game.

Mauston was led by senior Brady Nelson and sophomore Joel Heesch who both had 21 points. Nelson had a career night with six 3-pointers in the final high school basketball game of his career. Sophomore Hunter Nelson added 8 points for the Golden Eagles, and Mauston’s other senior, David Linsmeyer, had just 5 points as he also ended his high school basketball career. Three juniors for Mauston contributed 3 points a piece, including Taylor Ingraham, Jack Orton, and Andy Thrams. Thrams came into the game in the final minute and made a 3-pointer for his first varsity points, as Coach Heesch took out his two seniors to a standing ovation. Mauston made 16 of 19 from the line, and had eight 3-pointers, including the six from Nelson.

The Golden Eagles end their season with a 16-8 overall record, and a second place tie with Adams-Friendship in the South Central Conference with a 6-4 record. Viroqua improves to 18-5 overall, and they move onto the regional finals for the third consecutive year. The Blackhawks will take on the #1 seeded South Central Conference champion Wisconsin Dells Chiefs in Reedsburg Saturday night. The Chiefs downed the Nekoosa Papermakers, for the third time this season, with an 81-37 rout in the other regional semi-final game.