Blugolds’ pressure proves too much for Shiocton

Blugolds’ pressure proves too much for Shiocton

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Blugolds’ pressure proves too much for Shiocton

ASHWAUBENON – Wave after wave of blue jerseys and arms trapped and harassed the Shiocton girls’ basketball team Thursday night.

The Aquinas defense, which had helped the Blugolds to 27 consecutive victories, had a hand — a lot of them —in its 56-36 victory over Shiocton in a WIAA Division 4 state semifinal at the Resch Center.

The damage was sobering: Aquinas forced 19 turnovers and converted those into 22 points in the victory that catapulted the Blugolds into Saturday’s championship game against Howards Grove.

Shiocton’s Madi Morack, left, is comforted by teammate Jordan Elliott as time expires in a loss against Aquinas during a WIAA Division 4 state semifinal game Thursday at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

Shiocton’s Madi Morack, left, is comforted by teammate Jordan Elliott as time expires in a loss against Aquinas during a WIAA Division 4 state semifinal game Thursday at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

“Aquinas is an unbelievable team,” Shiocton coach Rob Hendrickson said. “They played better than us tonight and they deserve to be 27-0.

“I think we prepared for their pressure, but we did not handle it very well. We actually took advantage of it a couple of times and we had things lined up, but we didn’t execute as we should have. They’re very athletic and very long and they will give everyone problems.”

Junior forward Kyah Steiner had four steals and freshman Lexi Donarski added three. The duo were the main cogs in the Aquinas defensive machine that also helped limit Shiocton leading scorer Tina Ubl to five points.

Aquinas coach Dave Donarski said they turned to junior forward Madessa Collins to help contain Ubl.

“(Collins) has been doing that for us all year,” he said. “We typically assign her to their best scorer and athlete and I felt like she really answered that challenge.”

The Blugolds also pressured at every position, according to Shiocton senior guard Madi Morack.

“That was something we weren’t used to all year,” Morack said. “They’re full-court man. Wittenberg-Birnamwood played it, but they (the Blugolds) were unbelievable with the pressure they put on us and we weren’t used to it. We were ready, but I just think that’s what got us.”

Shiocton (18-9) battled early and took a 15-14 lead on a free throw from Morack. But a 12-4 run to end the half by Aquinas allowed the Blugolds to seize momentum.

Aquinas forced 13 turnovers in the first half and Shiocton committed three turnovers on its first three possessions of the second half as Aquinas pushed the lead to double digits at 30-19.

“They’re not pressuring the ball, they’re pressuring every girl on the team,” Shiocton senior forward Jordan Elliott said. “So it’s kind of hard to get every girl open, I guess.”

Shiocton got a jumper from freshman Skylor Bruns to pull within 36-27 with 10:41 left in the second half, but Aquinas responded immediately with a 3-pointer from Jessa Peterson and the Blugolds never allowed Shiocton closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Elliott scored 14 points and had five rebounds, with Morack adding 10 points, including three 3-pointers. Ubl added nine rebounds and three blocks. Bruns also had three blocks for the Chiefs.

The loss ended the careers of seniors Morack, Elliott, Haley Schmidt and Madeline Herrmann. The group began as freshmen in Hendrickson’s first season as coach.

“Our seniors this year they laid the foundation forever,” Hendrickson said. “They’re the first team to ever go to state in our program history and I believe they won 67 games (in four years) and in the previous seven years of the program, there was 37 wins total. We’ve won two regional titles, played in back-to-back-back regional championship games. We’re sectional champs and a state qualifier. I think their resume speaks for itself.”

Said Morack: “We had a lot of doubters definitely. And we’ve been through a lot as a team, too. I just think it was amazing for us to get here and that we accomplished a lot.”

Aquinas…

…26

30

— 56

Shiocton…

…19

17

— 36

Aquinas: Rezin 3, Collins 7, Steiner 13, Peterson 10, Donarski 14, Bahr 5, Miller 2, Koblitz 2. Totals 20 12-17 56. Three-pointers: Peterson 2, Collins, Bahr. Fouls: 11.

Shiocton: Elliott 14, Ubl 5, Morack 10, Spencer 2, Bruns 5. Totals 13 6-10 36. Three-pointers: Morack 3, Elliott. Fouls: 17.

Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-7191 or rarguello@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @PCRicardo

Shiocton’s Jordan Elliott, left, knocks the ball away against Madessa Collins of Aquinas on Thursday at the Resch Center.

Shiocton’s Jordan Elliott, left, knocks the ball away against Madessa Collins of Aquinas on Thursday at the Resch Center.

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