Sprinting out to a 17-3 lead minutes into Thursday's Badger Large Conference outing at Beaver Dam, Oregon looked to be at the top of its game.
But things changed dramatically during the second portion of the first half as Beaver Dam used a 31-9 run to take a 34-26 halftime lead and then held off Oregon in the second half for a key 63-58 triumph.
The Beavers' swarming defense, absent to start the game, seemed to gain juice once shots started to fall and the crowd got into the game.
Beaver Dam got scoring production from all of its starters during its pivotal run and improved to 10-3 on the season and 5-2 in league play.
Oregon fell to 7-5 in all games and 3-3 in league outings despite an eye-popping performance from stellar sophomore Vaughn Karvala, who finished with 22 points, several impressive blocked shots and a couple of dunks.
JT Kaul, 6-1, Sr., G, Beaver Dam
A very close call between junior point guard Parker Stobbe (5-9) and senior wing guard JT Kaul (6-1). Stobbe, finally at near 100 percent after missing some games with an injury, scored 18 points and hit a couple of big threes during Beaver Dam's first-half run. And Kaul got things going for the Beavers in the second half, scoring three layups off curls to the basket and hitting two threes of his own en route to a team-high 19 points. Kaul also made two huge free throws in the closing minute of the game to help keep Oregon at bay. "Having Parker back in the lineup is a big deal for us," Beaver Dam coach Tim Ladron said. "He's a great competitor and not afraid of the moment. JT struggled a little early, but battled through it. He's a floor general for us, our leader and a good defender."
Karvala made several plays that had the crowd buzzing, but his best occurred in the first half with his team trying to stay above water during Beaver Dam's game-alerting run. Karvala caught the ball off a screen at the free-throw line and then drove to the right-side of the basket. He then elevated for a somewhat unexpected but exceptionally satisfying two-handed flush that no other player in the game could have finished. Karvala is ranked No. 11 among state prospects in the 2026 class and might be better than that in the very near future. "He's come a really long way," Oregon coach Chris Siebert said. "He's special defensively. I tell him this all the time, but he's averaging 20 whatever points per game, but I think he's even better and his ceiling is higher defensively."
Jack Jens, 6-3, Sr., F, Beaver Dam
Chasing Karvala around all evening on defense was a big task for Jens. And even though Jens scored 22 points, Jens and backup Jeffrey Freund made him work very hard for every single point. In addition, Jens scored 13 points and his three enormous three-point shots. Each triple by Jens seemed to stem an Oregon rally as the Beavers had to work extremely hard in the second half to maintain their lead. "Jack is our glue guy," Ladron said. "Defensively, he's been really good all year. He's such a gamer for us. I feel confident when he has the ball. He's a four-year varsity player who has been around the block and knows what it takes."
"I'm excited about where we are at. We have great team chemistry and our three seniors are all great leaders. It's a very fun team to coach." -- Beaver Dam coach Tim Ladron
In addition to Karvala, senior Grant Wollangk (6-3) scored in double-figures for Oregon with 10 ... The Panthers hit eight three-point shots in the game, but had trouble finishing around the rim ... Sophomore Brayden Hermsdorf (6-6), who averaged 7.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg as a freshman, remains sidelined for Oregon as he continues to recover from an injury ... Oregon has lost two in a row after putting together a five-game winning streak that included triumphs over Monona Grove and Edgerton, among others.