Jan. 26, 2017 – West Bend, WI – The UW-Washington County mens basketball squad traveled to Marshfield earlier this month, Jan. 13 – 14, searching for continued improvement as a team and returned to West Bend as the champions of the 46th annual UW-Marshfield Class Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Wildcats came from behind to win both games, outscoring UW-Marshfield 86-66 in the opener, and turning in a gritty performance for a 63-59 win over D-2 Gogebic in the very intense championship game.
Wildcats Evan Rathke was named tournament MVP and Dre Johnson was also selected for All – Tournament honors.
In both games, Evan Rathke led the Wildcats defense by taking charges, deflecting passes and providing quick help to his teammates while also leading the team in assists at the offensive end. Some of his assists went to the Wildcats leading scorer Dre Johnson who was unstoppable in the championship game connecting on 14 of 17 shots while scoring 31 points.
For the entire season Johnson is averaging 17.9 points per game while shooting 65% on 2-pointers, 39% on 3-pointers, and 66% from the free throw line. Johnson adds 6.7 rebounds per game. Evan Rathke is averaging 13.7 points per game, hitting 56% on 2 pointers, 27% on 3-pointers and 71% on free throws. Evan Rathke leads the team in both assists at 3.3 per game and blocked shots at 2 per game, while adding 3.6 in rebounds.
Friday night the Wildcats led by one at halftime before going on to an 86-66 victory over the host UW-Marshfield Marauders. Then, Saturday, the Wildcats came from behind at the half to post a huge 63-59 championship game victory over defending tournament champion Gogebic Community College, a D-2 school that had previously beaten perennial Wisconsin state powers Milwaukee Tech and Madison Tech earlier in the season.
UW-Washington’s intense hustling defense held a Gogebic team that was averaging 85 points per game to a season low 59 points in the championship. The Wildcats controlled the tempo, slowing things down by increasing their passes per possession on offensive to get the highest quality shot available, while in the process running the shot clock down to lower levels than in past games, effectively limiting possessions and scoring opportunities for the Gogebic Samsons.
Traditionally a forward, Evan switched to play point guard for the Wildcats to distribute the ball and help the team handle Gogebic’s aggressive press defense.
Evan’s incredible effort, sacrificing his body for the team and having to pick himself up off the floor numerous times, together with his all-around performance of tremendous defense, rebounding, scoring, passing, leadership, and composure earned him the MVP recognition.
For Dre Johnson, he was selected for one of the 5 All-Tournament positions for the 2nd consecutive year as he torched the nets in one of his favorite gyms to play in.
Johnson was the target for the Wildcats offense and he dominated inside and outside possessing a rare excellence from the perimeter as well as in the paint.
The Rathke and Johnson combination has helped generate many exciting basketball plays throughout the season for UW-Washington County. Both young men will be moving on to attend 4-year schools next season.