The Spartans, who struggled to find their rhythm early, switched gears in the second quarter, something coach Brian Brooks thought was a huge key in the flow of the game.
“We came out sloppy in the first quarter, which probably was a result of nerves,” Brooks said. “Nate’s playing so well right now and is so locked in, and we thought that they might do something like key in on him, so it was nice to see some of the other players on the team step up and make some shots.”
Michael, who finished 9-of-10 from the free throw line, hit some clutch shots from the line in the fourth quarter, as Bismarck-Henning kept sending him to the stripe.
Schluter, one of the many seniors for the Spartans, was steady throughout the game, and thought that being on their home floor for the regional was a major factor in their win.
“It was nice to be at home for the final time, and being the regional championship makes it even more meaningful,” Schluter said.
Michael, who had games of 27 and 23 in the regional, also thinks that the veteran leadership of the seniors was a key to the win.
“When the seniors are playing well, it trickles down to everyone on the team,” Michael said.
St. Joseph-Ogden, who improves to 26-3, will advance to the sectional next Wednesday, where they will face Braidwood Reed- Custer, who was a 92-63 winner over Beecher in the final of the Wilmington Regional. The Comets pose a style of offense that the Spartans have not seen this year, which gives Brooks another aspect to work on.
“We haven’t seen that kind of style this season, where they like to full-court press, so we will have our hands full and will need to be on our game in order to beat them,” Brooks said.