Waupun had the 2019 Mr. Basketball in Marcus Domask, but Martin Luther had a pair of aces – one named Ace – in its drive for a state championship in its first state tourney appearance.
Ace Evans and Trequan Carrington each played every second of Saturday’s Division 3 title game at the Kohl Center, combining for 39 points and plenty of defensive pressure in the Spartans’ 58-49 win over the Warriors.
"I don’t think I’ve had a (guard) combination at the same time as good as these two guys," said Martin Luther coach Paul Wollersheim, who became a state champion coach for the fourth time, following three state championships at Dominican in 2004, 2005 and 2012. “As far as being tough and smart basketball players, and their ability to score and ability to defend … I can’t think of two guards I had at the same time better than these two guys.”
The Spartans (25-3) held Domask to 5-of-15 shooting, including 1-of-8 on three-point tries. Waupun (26-2) managed just 3 three-pointers on 14 attempts and was also just 8-of-17 at the free throw line.
“That won’t get it done,” Waupun coach Dan Domask said. “I’d say those were our season lows. And that’s not a good time to have those. That being said, I thought our effort was real good. You can’t fault kids for missing shots.”
The season included a Dec. 18 nonconference matchup between the teams that Martin Luther won, 79-64. Waupun never led on Saturday, either, although a second-half run tied the game three times in the final eight minutes.
Evans’ basket one minute into the second half put the Spartans up 32-23. Waupun, however, picked up the tempo and urgency and battled its way back by attacking the basket.
“At halftime, we just had to kind of regroup,” Marcus Domask said. “We weren’t ourselves offensively. We emphasized moving the ball and getting good looks, and not just taking the tough twos.”
Those tough twos were the only option early because of Martin Luther’s defense, which had the ability to overplay while still scrambling quickly enough to cover the back door moves.
“We played Waupun earlier in the year, so we knew what they’d do, then we checked in during the season to see if they were running the same stuff,” Wollersheim said. “We wanted to take away easy baskets from Marcus. If he was going to make shots, we didn’t want to let him beat us from behind the three-point line, because he’s a really good shooter so we wanted to extend out. And then when he posted up, we wanted to make sure he shot the ball over the top and limit him to one shot.”
The final tie came at 48 with just two minutes left. Evans, however, scored eight of his team’s final 10 points to build Martin Luther’s final margin. He finished with 20 points while Carrington added 19. Reece Homan led Waupun with 16 points, while Marcus Domask had 15 and Trevor VandeZande 14.
Neither Carrington or Evans has made a commitment to play college ball next year. Wollersheim said they will sort out the options now that the season is finished. For now, they simply want to savor the Spartans’ first state title.
“It’s really special for us and our community, because we had never won state,” Carrington said. “Making history just made everything better.”