Lena girls basketball team advances to state tournament

Wittenberg-Birnamwood loses in sectional finals
By: 
Kevin Passon
Editor-in-chief

Lena’s girls basketball team advanced to the state tournament with a 66-57 win over Pittsville in Antigo on March 2.

Madilyn Thomson scored 23 points, and Eva Brooks dropped in another 20 to lead the Wildcats. Also scoring were Kali Fischer with 11, Whitney Potter with six, and Hannah Thomson and Maddy Kushner, each with three.

Brooks had a stunning 20 rebounds, with Hannah Thomson and Madilyn Thomson each pulling down eight. Madilyn Thomson led her teammates with five assists and four steals.

Lena held a 27-22 halftime lead and pulled ahead a bit more with a 39-35 second half performance.

The state tournament will be held March 7-9 at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

On March 8, No. 1 Argyle/Pecatonica (26-1) will face off against No. 4 Albany/Monticello (25-3) at 9:05 a.m. About 15 minutes after that game, No. 3 Clear Lake (26-3) will take on No. 2 Lena (27-2).

The winners of the two games will face off in the championship final at 11:05 a.m. March 9.

Lena will make its fourth appearance at state and the first since 1991 when the Wildcats finished runner-up in Division 4. Their most notable result at state was being crowned the Class C champion in 1980. The Wildcats return to state for the first time in 33 seasons.

Semifinals

The Lena Wildcats girls basketball team held off a scrappy Wabeno/Laona squad that forced 33 turnovers, 21 in the first half, to advance in a WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal game played at Green Bay Southwest High School on Feb. 29.

The Rebels, second-place team in the Northern Lakes Conference. used tenacious defense to build a 24-16 lead late in the first half and continued to hold off the Marinette & Oconto Conference champions, hanging on to a 31-24 advantage with 10 minutes left in the game.

Lena chipped away over the next six minutes and tied the score at 38 on Kali Fischer’s layup as the clock ticked inside five minutes to go. Moments later, season scoring leader Eva Brooks gave the Wildcats the lead for good with a clutch 3-pointer.

Madilyn Thomson led the Wildcats with 20 points, and Brooks scored 14. Also adding to the total were Kali Fischer with six, Karli Fischer with four, Whitney Potter with three and Alabama Lambert with one.

Thomson led her teammates with eight rebounds, while Brooks pulled down seven. Kali Fischer recorded four assists, and Thomson had four steals.

The Wildcats (26-2) play Pittsville March 2 at Antigo for the right to advance to the state tournament. The Panthers (24-4), the second-place team in the Central Wisconsin Conference South Division, made it to the sectional final with a 45-38 victory over Athens on Feb. 29 in Merrill.

Witt-Birn

Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s season came to an end with a 55-39 defeat at the hands of Xavier.

The sectional final was played at Brillion on March 2.

The Chargers ended the season with a 25-3 record.

In the WIAA Division 3 semifinal game Feb. 29 in Oconto Falls, Rory Salvesen scored 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Melaina Granquist dropped in another 12 as Wittenberg-Birnamwood won a 43-41 nail-biter against Freedom.

Also scoring for the Chargers were Nora Bushman and Harper Rogowski with five points each, Faith Resch with four and Brie Ladika with two.

Granquist pulled down 13 of the team’s 26 rebounds, Resch had three of the team’s seven assists, and Salvesen recorded three of the Chargers’ seven steals.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood (25-2) moved on to play Xavier on Saturday at Brillion for a chance to compete in the state tournament.

kpasson@newmedia-wi.com