- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - If Saturday night’s WIAA Division 2 state boys basketball championship game boiled down to a one-on-one battle, Anthony Carver was probably going to come out on the short end.

But it’s a team game, and the Wisconsin Lutheran junior forward got more help from his teammates than his frontcourt foe, Rice Lake’s Henry Ellenson, as the Vikings claimed the state title with a 61-46 victory at the Kohl Center.

Carver had 18 points and eight rebounds for Wisconsin Lutheran (26-2), which took command in the second quarter and never looked back. No other Vikings player scored in double figures, but Carver was one of nine to reach the scoring column.

“That’s been a trademark of ours all year. We talk about often how we don’t have a superstar, how we’re going to have to share everything, how we’re going to have to get it from multiple places,” Wisconsin Lutheran coach Ryan Walz said. “It was a recipe that worked for us.”

The Vikings frustrated the Warriors (23-3) with constant pressure that made it difficult to get the ball inside to Ellenson, their star center who came into the game averaging more than 27 points.

The 6-10 junior still managed 13 points and 10 rebounds by halftime, but Rice Lake trailed 28-18. Ellenson’s 3-pointer with 3:24 to go in the second period brought the Warriors within 23-18, but Wisconsin Lutheran scored the next 13 points - a run bookended by Carver jumpers - and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Ellenson had only two points and two boards in the second half until hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes with his team down 20.

“They really got to do what they wanted to do defensively,” he said. “They were a more physical team than we’ve played before. It was tough to adjust.”

Ellenson finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. No other Warrior scored more than seven points.

“We thought he’s going to get 30 against us if we try and go one-on-one at him. And even if we try and double him, he’s going to find the right guy,” Walz said. “So we thought if we could limit the other guys and really pressure them out — he’s going to score 20 regardless — that would be our best chance.”

Rice Lake shot 39.8 percent from the floor, a number bolstered by making six of its final nine field goals with the outcome already decided.

Senior guard Brandyn Christman, the Warriors’ second-leading scorer, was just 1 of 11 from the floor and 0 of 6 from 3-point range.

“One of my concerns coming into this game was just being able to handle their pressure,” Rice Lake coach Kevin Orr said. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well tonight, and obviously a lot of that credit has to go to Wisconsin Lutheran’s defensive pressure.”

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