Shawano girls basketball team pulls away late to top Pacelli

Hawks get big 3s from Bystol and play strong defense
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Shawano Community High School girls basketball team hit some clutch shots and played tough defense late to claim a 52-40 nonconference win over Pacelli on Jan. 31 in Shawano.

The Hawks led most of the contest before the visiting Cardinals went on a run midway through the second half. Shawano called timeout with 7 minutes, 44 seconds to play and ended up outscoring Pacelli 17-7 the rest of the way.

After the timeout Pacelli hit a 3-pointer to grab its first lead since the 11-minute mark of the first half. Shawano came right back with a triple from Ella Stuber.

After a couple of scoreless minutes, Pacelli hit a shot tie tie things at 38. Shawano dominated the rest of the way.

Two free throws from Brynlie Boyles on a one-and-one opportunity gave Shawano the lead with 4:32 to play. After a Pacelli turnover against the Shawano full-court press, Abby Bystol knocked down a 3-pointer. Another Pacelli turnover led to a second straight Bystol triple, and just like that, Shawano led 46-38 with 3:18 to play.

“I was really struggling in the beginning (some missed jumpshots and foul trouble earlier in the game), coach is like ‘Just keep shooting, they’ll fall, they’ll fall.’ The worst thing to do is stop shooting, it makes it worse,” said Bystol. “So I had to come out and hit those two 3s and I got (my confidence) back.”

A Pacelli timeout didn’t stop Shawano’s momentum, as the next two possessions also ended in turnovers. Leah Nordin then converted a shot for the Hawks to make it a 10-point game.

Pacelli scored with about 1:45 to play, but four Shawano free throws accounted for the game’s final points and the Hawks walked away victorious.

“Hopefully, coming off that Antigo loss, 70-71, hopefully this one is a morale booster for New London (on Feb. 3) because I know New London is going to be tough,” said Nordin.

The freshman 6-footer carried the Hawks to a 24-12 halftime lead, scoring 13 of her 20 points in the first half.

Trinity Popelka had Shawano’s first point in the game on a free throw before Nordin scored the next seven points. Anna Dreier followed with a basket to give Shawano a 10-4 lead.

Nordin and Braylyn Babino did the rest of the first-half scoring for the Hawks.

Nordin had the team’s next two field goals to give the hosts a 14-8 lead. Babino later hit a 3-pointer, which was followed by a Nordin bucket to make it 19-10.

Babino scored on a fastbreak chance off an assist from Nordin to push the lead to double digits. Babino then hit another triple in the final minute of the half.

“I just kind of played off my teammate’s energy,” said Nordin of her strong first half. “I mean, towards the end we were hitting 3s, so that’s always nice. I just kind of played with them and went along with them.”

At the start of the second half, things didn’t go as smoothly for Shawano.

Pacelli scored the first five points, and Bystol was tagged with her third foul, sending her to the bench with 15:24 to play.

Stuber and Popelka hit shots to briefly halt Pacelli’s surge, but the visitors tallied the next two baskets.

Bystol returned to the game and immediately scored the team’s next basket to make it 30-21, but a Popelka free throw was all the hosts could muster over the next three minutes. Meanwhile, Pacelli snuck back within two points.

Popelka and Nordin each hit shots to match a Pacelli basket and free throws, making it 35-33 and forcing the Shawano timeout.

Bystol said the team talked about Pacelli making a second-half push, but that the timeout helped the team relax and get back on track.

“In that timeout we called, we were hanging our heads,” said Bystol. “Coach said, ‘yeah, we got to pick it back up and stay confident’ and then we got it back.”

Pacelli 12 28 — 40

Shawano 24 28 — 52

Shawano (52): Ella Stuber 1-2 6, Trinity Popelka 2-4 6, Braylyn Babino 0-0 8, Abby Bystol 0-2 8, Brynlie Boyles 2-4 2, Anna Dreier 0-0 2, Leah Nordin 4-8 20.

Pacelli (40): Cassandra Vaughan 0-0 6, Ashley Strizel 0-0 5, Hannah Trzinski 0-0 3, Kaylin Yenter 2-2 6, Amelia Jacoby 4-8 16, Emma Van Order 2-2 4.