Boys basketball: Florence beats Patriots in regional, 80-73

Florence's Evan Beaster (30) grabs a rebound against Goodman-Pembine's Wyatt Marcy (23) during a WIAA Division 5 regional game Tuesday in Florence, Wis. (Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News)

FLORENCE, Wis. — Florence hung on to beat Goodman-Pembine 80-73 in a WIAA Division 5 regional matchup on Tuesday.

The Bobcats (8-13) were led by Riley Hixon’s 30 points. Evan Beaster notched a double-double with 28 points and 22 rebounds. Kaden Schuls added 18 points.

“I just thought for the opening round it was a great tournament atmosphere. Our fan section was amazing tonight,” Florence head coach Bryan Bomberg said. “Goodman-Pembine had a good gameplan coming into this. I just thought for my guys being a young crew in the tournament atmosphere, they did what they had to do to get the win.”

The Bobcats move on to play at Phelps on Friday.

Goodman-Pembine (7-15) led early in the game before Florence’s younger roster settled in and grabbed a four-point lead by halftime.

“I think we absolutely saved our best game for our last,” said Goodman-Pembine head coach John Swick. “We got off to a good start and grabbed an early lead. Both teams were able to hang in enough as we took turns going on runs and then getting stops.”

The Bobcats were challenged throughout the second half despite extending the lead up to 10 points. The Patriots battled back to within a point and about three minutes remaining.

“Hixon answered with the three. We hit some big shots down the stretch,” Bomberg said. “Schuls was driving against the zone and creating for his teammates. It was a total team effort and we hit shots when we had to.”

Hagan Braaten led the Patriots with 27 points. Elisha Heath and Wyatt Marcy had 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Bomberg said Beaster and Braaten battled throughout the game in the post.

“Evan and Hagen Braaten battled it out inside. I thought we did a good job of containing Hagan in the second half,” Bomberg said. “He had 19 points in the first half and we just couldn’t stop him in the first half. We let him go right every time in the first half. When we forced him to go left more in the second half, we had more success defensively.”

Swick said Florence’s clutch shooting was tough to overcome.

“We came out a little slow in the second half and got down by 10 pretty quickly but battled back to make it a one-point game late,” Swick said. “Then it came down to free throws and ball security and we just couldn’t finish it off. Hat’s off to Florence. They made the shots they needed at all the right times.

“It’s always hard to lose but this one is hard for the seniors that are moving on,” Swick said. “They are an amazing bunch and did themselves proud tonight.”