WIAA D2: Monroe 53, Appleton Xavier 39
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Fourteen times during the fourth quarter of a WIAA Division 2 state semifinal Friday, Monroe senior guard Mitch Tordoff stepped to the free throw line.
Thirteen times, his attempt rang true.
"I'm actually surprised that he missed one, to tell you the truth, because he's money," Monroe coach Pat Murphy said. "He wants the ball, and that's what good players do. Good players want the ball in crunch time."
Tordoff's free throws and younger brother Bryan Tordoff's outside shooting propelled Monroe (19-7) to a 53-39 victory over Appleton Xavier (22-4) and a berth in Saturday's championship game against Wisconsin Lutheran (23-2).
Mitch Tordoff scored 28 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, as the Cheesemakers closed the game on a 17-0 run. The Hawks missed their last nine shots from the field after taking a 39-34 lead with 5:57 left.
"When we score, we play with energy," Xavier coach Tom Neises said. "When we don't score, we have to manufacture it, and that didn't happen today."
Bryan Tordoff tied the game at 39 with 4:17 left with a 3-pointer from the right wing after a loose ball squirted his way. A minute later, Mitch Tordoff sank a 3 from the same spot for a 42-39 lead.
Monroe's next six possessions ended with Mitch Tordoff going to the free-throw line, where he hit 11 of the 12 attempts. Tordoff finished the game 15-of-17 from the charity stripe, setting a Division 2 record for most free throws made in a game.
He did all of his scoring in the fourth quarter after picking up his fourth foul with 6:44 left.
Bryan Tordoff hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Monroe a 32-31 lead in the third quarter. The sophomore guard finished with 13 points -- all but two in the second half -- and nine rebounds.
"He was clutch today," Mitch Tordoff said. "He definitely knocked down a lot of big shots for us."
Xavier scored six straight points to take a 37-32 lead at the end of the third quarter. Jonathan Burns hit a pair of free throws and Dan Murphy and Mike Fitzgerald both converted steals into layups.
But the Hawks, who made their final four shots of the third quarter, were just 1-of-11 in the final period.
"We needed a basket in a real bad way and we were unable to get one," Neises said. "I really thought we were in pretty good position. A steal put us up five, we had an opportunity for a loose ball and we had a couple guys that did not get on the floor. Their kid did and they got a three out of that pile. Then they came down and hit another three and they were rolling."
Burns led the Hawks with 11 points. Murphy added eight points and 14 rebounds.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)