Matt Farner may not have called his game-winning shot, but he sure will take it.
The Muskego senior forward banked in a 30-foot shot from the right wing as the buzzer sounded to lift the Muskego boys basketball team to a thrilling 71-68 victory over Madison East in a WIAA Division 1 regional championship contest on March 5.
The game was tied at 68-68, with the Warriors possessing, when East forced a jump ball. Muskego had the arrow, but only 2 seconds remained.
Tommy Anderson inbounded to Farner, who turned around and launched the fallaway game winner, which was high but banked off the backboard and into the basket.
'It didn't exactly go as we drew it up,' Farner admitted. 'Our initial look was to me; then the next was Caleb (Wagner) coming through on the screen. (Caleb) was guarded pretty well, and Tommy just gave me the ball and everything else just kind of happened after that.
'I had a feeling (it would go in), but I'm just glad it went in. The feeling (when it went in) was indescribable.'
At that point, Muskego coach Andy Capes walked past Farner and said, 'He called (the bank).'
Farner laughed and said, 'I'll tell people I called it, but I didn't. I just wanted to get a shot up, and I am just incredibly thankful that it went in and that we're advancing.'
Wagner, who tallied 21 of his 25 points in the second half, added, 'At first (after the shot), I was just kind of in shock. Wow, that was crazy, but once it went in, we all kind of realized that we won the game, and then there was kind of a mob (with the crowd.) We were all so happy.'
Play called 'Muskego'
Capes said the winning play was called 'Muskego' and is run frequently in practice.
'It actually broke down, but we talked about Matty coming to the ball, and he made the shot,' Capes said. 'It wasn't exactly how we drew it up, but sometimes that's the way it goes, and it went in.'
The victory lifted Muskego to 20-4 on the season and advanced the Warriors to a sectional game against top seed Sun Prairie (19-5) at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at Janesville Craig.
The sectional also features Madison Memorial and Madison West, so it is basically Muskego against the Big Eight Conference.
Muskego had led East (17-7) by as many as 8 points in the second half, but East crept back into the game and tied it at 57-57 on a shot from Keshawn Justice with about six minutes remaining.
East took a 61-59 lead before Wagner netted two free throws to tie it again at 61-61 with 4 minutes, 36 seconds left. After another East basket, Wagner scored on a nice inside move for a 63-63 tie.
Later, Wagner hit one free throw, and Luke Horozewski netted two to give Muskego a 66-65 advantage.
Wagner then drove the lane for a layup and a 68-65 lead. That was one of a number of driving shots for Wagner in the second half, leading to many of his 21 points after intermission.
'The real most valuable player of that game was our point guard, Caleb,' Farner said. 'He and Tommy were making plays in the second half.'
Wagner said, 'The first half, (the Purgolders) were kind of taking things away. To win this game, I knew I had to pick it up a little bit, dishing and scoring a little more.'
East tied the game at 68 on a shot by Justice with 9 seconds left. The Warriors brought the ball downcourt before the jump ball was called, leading to Farner's winning shot.
'He's a great competitor,' Capes said of Farner. 'I'm glad this worked out for him.'
After a close first half, which ended with the Purgolders up 32-31, Muskego scored 11 straight points and went on a 16-5 run early in the second half to go up 47-39, but East just kept coming back.
'That's a darn good team we beat right there in Madison East,' Farner said.
Besides Wagner's 25 points, Anderson finished with 24 points and Farner 9 points. For East, Justice tallied 21 points and Deang Deang 17 before fouling out midway through the second half.
The Warriors redeemed themselves after losing in the first round of the regional last season as a top seed.
'It's a great group of kids, and it's nice to show everybody how far our program has come,' Capes said. 'We can play with anybody. Madison East is one of the best teams in the state and certainly a challenge, so this was a great win for our program.'
WHAT: A WIAA Division 1 boys basketball sectional tournament
7 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 10: Muskego (20-4) vs. Sun Prairie (19-5) at Janesville Craig and Madison Memorial (17-6) vs. Madison West (14-10) at Middleton
1 P.M. SATURDAY, MARCH 12: Championship game at Sun Prairie
MUSKEGO: The Warriors won the Classic 8 Conference championship at 13-1. Caleb Wagner, a 6-0 senior point guard, averages 22.6 points and 4.1 assists; 6-4 senior forward Tommy Anderson is at 15.9 points per game; and 6-3 senior forward Matt Farner averages a double-double with 14.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per contest for the Warriors, who have won 10 straight.
SUN PRAIRIE: The Cardinals shared the Big Eight Conference championship with Middleton and Madison Memorial at 14-4. They are led by 6-foot-7 inch senior point guard Sam Kerr at 14.3 points per game and 6-5 senior guard/forward Roderick Johnson at 12.8. They routed Madison LaFollette, 63-38, and topped Janesville Craig, 49-41, in regional play and have won 12 of their last 14 games.
MADISON MEMORIAL:The Spartans, a perennial state power, are paced by 6-7 sophomore forward Chris Knight at 17.3 points per game, 6-0 junior guard Billy Wilson at 9.8 and 6-6 junior forward Matt Caropreso at 9.4. They have won five straight games, including regional victories of 67-42 over Kenosha Indian Trail and 58-55 over Oconomowoc.
MADISON WEST: The Regents finished 10-8 in the Big Eight Conference but upset tri-champion Middleton, 77-71, in the regional title game after downing Watertown, 80-68, in the first round. They are led by 6-4 senior forward Sam Meyer at 14.2 points per game, 6-4 junior forward Larry Hawkins at 13.4 and 6-2 junior forward Terrell Carey at 10.1. They have won five straight.