OSHKOSH, Wis. (NBC 26) — Brillion boys basketball is heading back to state after a 77-73 win over Xavier in Saturday's sectional final.
The Lions led by as many as 16 points in the second half and later withstood a fierce rally from the Hawks to hang on for the win.
Xavier's Hayden Quimby hit a three with less than 10 seconds remaining to cut the Hawks deficit to just three points, but after a foul Brillion star forward Jeremy Lorenz hit one of two free throws to seal the victory.
The Lions will take their 27-1 record to the state tournament for the second straight season.
"We started the season 22-0," Brillion head coach Chad Shimek said. "Everybody's asking us about going undefeated. And everybody's asking us about (going to the state tournament in) Madison and those are the people who don't know what it takes to get here. How tough it is. How good of a team Xavier is.
"It's tough," Shimek added. "And our guys were able to block that stuff out and just stay focused and I'm extremely proud of them."
Lorenz, a Wofford College commit and Mr. Basketball finalist, scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Lions.
"There were a lot of expectations on us coming into the year and it was kind of an expectation for us to make it to state," Lorenz said. "That's quite the expectation to have."
Lorenz and the Lions lost in the state semifinals last season. This year, they hope that experience will help them on the state's biggest stage.
"This year we know we don't want to come home with a loss in the first game like we did last year," Lorenz said. "It's kind of just unfinished business."
West Salem also qualified for the Division 3 state tournament. The other two teams will be decided Saturday night.
De Pere, Neenah and Saint Mary Catholic also qualified for the state tournament.