Cold-shooting sinks Hortonville at state

Cold-shooting sinks Hortonville at state

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Cold-shooting sinks Hortonville at state

Hortonville High School's Morgan Allen (30) pulls down a rebound against Cudahy High School's Bailey Eichner (21) during their WIAA Division 2 state tournament semifinal girls basketball game Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

Hortonville High School’s Morgan Allen (30) pulls down a rebound against Cudahy High School’s Bailey Eichner (21) during their WIAA Division 2 state tournament semifinal girls basketball game Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

ASHWAUBENON – Winning a state tournament basketball game with sub-par shooting is like trying to win an auto race with a pair of flat tires.

The ball just wouldn’t drop Friday afternoon for the Hortonville Polar Bears, who picked the worst possible time to hit a deep freeze with their shooting.

The Polar Bears managed just 12 field goals and were held to a season-low point total in a frustrating 46-36 loss to Cudahy in a Division 2 state girls’ basketball semifinal at the Resch Center.

Cudahy (20-7) advanced to a 6:35 p.m. Division 2 state championship game Saturday against unbeaten Beaver Dam.

Cudahy, a peaking team that was 3-5 heading into January, was a beatable opponent for Hortonville, but the Packers outshot and outplayed the Polar Bears. Hortonville shot an ugly 26.7 percent from the floor, including a 21.4 percent mark in the second half. The Polar Bears were just 14.3 percent from the 3-point line, sinking only a pair of threes.

“I don’t want to take anything away from their defense, they did a great job,” said Hortonville coach Celeste Ratka. “They were right with Shay (Frederick) on a lot of the screening action and things we were trying to do.

“I think a little bit of it was a little tightness. We missed quite a few layups that we normally put in and I think that got us even more tight. The kids just never really relaxed throughout the game.”

Cudahy shot a superior 44.7 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. Smooth senior Bailey Eichner, a William & Mary recruit, topped the Packers with 13 points, while Hannah Kulas added 12.

“I thought Cudahy came in with their game plan and executed, especially in the first half, a lot better than we did,” Ratka said. “They settled in a lot quicker than we did with all the surroundings and things that go into this game. They have a couple players who kept making plays for them. You have to give them a lot of credit. Their kids performed and played really well.”

Frederick, Hortonville’s leading scorer with a 17.1 average, led the Polar Bears with 12 points, but connected on just 3 of her 15 field-goal attempts and missed all six of her 3-point attempts. The Packers played primarily man-to-man defense and sophomore guard Cam Kratt was praised by Cudahy coach Bob Maronde for her work on Frederick.

“It’s definitely tough not seeing the ball go in, especially when you are working so hard for shots and your teammates are working so hard to get you open,” said Frederick. “But, you know, stuff like that happens. I’ve had games like this before. I just have to find another way. I just have to adjust. If it’s not falling, it’s not falling. Then I have to drive or I have to screen for other teammates and get them open.

“It’s not always going to go my way. It’s not always going to go our team’s way. We just have to fight and find a way.”

Morgan Allen, the Polar Bears’ 6-foot-1 senior post player, was held to 10 points and fouled out with 3:58 left and Cudahy leading 36-31.

“Morgan has been our anchor all year,” said Ratka. “She’s been a focal point for defenses every game we’ve played. Yeah, it hurt to not have her presence in there offensively and at the defensive end. She’s going to be missed a lot. Those are big shoes we have to fill.”

Hortonville started fast. Olivia Griesbach opened the game with a 3-pointer and Allen scored four points to drive the Polar Bears to an early 10-2 lead.

The Packers got rolling on back-to-back 3-pointers by Kratt and Kulas and outplayed Hortonville the rest of the way. Cudahy closed the half on an 8-1 run —culminated by a deep three by Kulas at the buzzer — to claim a 24-18 lead at the break.

The Polar Bears stayed in striking distance the rest of the way and closed the gap to 32-29 with eight minutes left on a pair of Frederick free throws.

The Polar Bears, though, couldn’t catch Cudahy. Hortonville missed a number of short-range attempts down the stretch and the Packers took control at crunch time to end the Polar Bears’ season.

“I thought our execution, except for a brief period in the second half, was just flawless,” said Maronde. “I couldn’t be more pleased. We put in a game plan and these kids executed it. Hortonville is a quality team that is well-coached. I watched Celeste (Ratka) play at UW-Green Bay, so I know she’s really competitive and would have her team ready for us.

“I thought a big key for us was controlling tempo and making sure we did the things we wanted to do. They played good man-to-man defense and threw the Buzz (defense) at us. The Buzz defense is something people don’t see a whole lot of, but I thought we did a great job against it.”

It was Hortonville’s first trip to the state tournament in 30 years, and the Polar Bears don’t plan to wait that long to make a return trip.

“I think we just need to stay hungry,” said Frederick, a junior. “We can’t get discouraged and can’t hang our heads about this. We have to bounce back and that starts with this summer. If we come in and work hard, we should be able to do anything, like we did this year.”

Cudahy

24

22

— 46

Hortonville

18

18

— 36

Cudahy: Kulas 12, Eichner 13, Ferch 7, Kratt 6, Sagan 6, Verly 2. Totals 17 8-16 46. 3-pointers: Kulas 2, Kratt 2. Fouls: 15.

Hortonville: Griesbach 5, Walter 2, Allen 10, Frederick 12, Van Beek 2, Nelson 3, McGlone 2. Totals 12 10-14 36. 3-pointers: Griesbach, Nelson. Fouls: 15.

Tim Froberg: 920-993-7183 or tfroberg@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @twfroberg

Hortonville High School's Morgan Allen reacts after fouling out late in the game against Cudahy High School during their WIAA Division 2 state tournament semifinal girls basketball game Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

Hortonville High School’s Morgan Allen reacts after fouling out late in the game against Cudahy High School during their WIAA Division 2 state tournament semifinal girls basketball game Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.

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