Instant replay has been a part of the WIAA Girls Basketball State Tournament since 2010. But Saturday’s was the first time it was used to determine the outcome of a state championship.
Howards Grove ended the Division 4 championship game on a 12-3 run, and secured its first-ever state title with a dramatic 44-43 victory over La Crosse Aquinas at the Resch Center.
Down 44-41 with seconds remaining, Aquinas’ Kyah Steiner hit what was originally called a 3-pointer as time expired. But the officials went to instant replay, which showed Steiner’s foot on the line, and the Tigers were declared champion.
Howards (27-1) trailed by eight with five minutes to go, but chipped away. The Tigers didn’t take their first lead until there was just 49.4 seconds left on a three-point play by senior Olivia Stauss.
Stauss scored the Tigers’ final six points to lead the championship charge. She finished with 16 points on 3-of-11 shooting, but 9-of-11 at the free-throw line.
Senior Samantha Yancy had eight points and 11 rebounds and Brittany Schaller had eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
Aquinas (27-1) scored the game’s first eight points, but after that the two teams took turns going on short runs. The Blugolds led 22-17 at halftime, led by 10 points from freshman Lexi Donarski. Nobody had more than four points in a balanced Tigers scoring effort.
Donarski scored 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, with four assists, three blocks and four steals.
Appleton North 49, De Pere 34
ASHWAUBENON – For the first time ever, the City of Appleton can claim a WIAA girls basketball championship as its own.
Appleton North defeated De Pere 49-34 on Saturday to secure the Division 1 state title at the Resch Center.
North, East, West, Xavier and Fox Valley Lutheran have combined for 13 WIAA state tournament appearances, but the Lightning earned the first golden ball on the program’s fourth trip.
De Pere went scoreless for the opening five minutes, and trailed 8-0 to begin the game, but regrouped and tied the game at 14-14 before North rattled off the final four points of the half.
But scoring never came easy for the Redbirds, who shot just 29.3 percent on the night, including 5-of-23 on 3-pointers (21.7 percent).
North (28-0) initially had its own issues putting the ball in the net. Junior Sydney Levy, who averages 18.9 points per game, was held scoreless until the middle of the second half. But UW-Milwaukee recruit sparked a 7-2 run with an assist on a 3-pointer, then two consecutive field goals to give the Lightning a 36-29 lead. She finished with six points.
Sophomore Paige Schabo and junior Kari Brekke broke through De Pere’s tough defense and combined for 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Schabo led North with 16 points and seven rebounds.
De Pere (25-3) was hampered when its floor leader, senior Olivia DeCleene injured her right leg late in the first half and didn’t return.
Her replacement, sophomore Rachel Kerkhoff, provided her team a much-needed burst of energy. She led the team with 11 points off the bench.
Liz Nies had just two points but a game-high 10 rebounds for the Redbirds.
But whenever the Redbirds made a run, the Lightning would make one of its own to hold them at bay. Callie Pohlman hit a jumper with 5:04 left to give North a 42-31 lead, and the team led by double digits the rest of the way.
Beaver Dam 52, Cudahy 33
Beaver Dam started slow, but picked up the pace and overwhelmed Cudahy long enough to earn its first championship and cap an unbeaten season.
Cudahy (20-8) opened game on 10-0 run, but Beaver Dam got back into the game and pulled away – all in the span of about 10 minutes.
The Beavers (28-0) ended the half on a 21-3 run and led by eight at the break.
Beaver Dam’s full-court trapping defense forced Cudahy into 16 turnovers in the first half alone, directly leading to 17 points for the Beavers.
On the night, Cudahy had 23 turnovers, compares to 11 for Beaver Dam, and had 17 fewer field goal attempts.
For Beaver Dam, Sophomore Aly Van Loo had 12 points – she averages 5.6 off the bench – and five rebounds, sophomore Tara Stauffacher had 12 points and senior Kara Crowley had 11 points and seven assists.
Cudahy senior Nicole Ferch – who started the game with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem – had 14 points and six rebounds.
Madison Edgewood 51, Martin Luther 30
Stanford University recruit Estella Moschkau scored 20 points as the Crusaders won their first state championship in emphatic fashion.
Tied 11-11, Edgewood embarked on an 8-0 run to end the first half. The Crusaders quickly increased the lead to 26-13 less than three minutes after the break, and led by at least eight the rest of the way, and as many as 22.
Senior Katie Meriggioli had 15 points and junior Caitlin Link added 10 points for Edgewood (25-3).
Neither team shot well in the opening 18 minutes. Edgewood was just 26.1 percent from the field, but Luther was only 22.2 percent.
The Crusaders hit 50 percent of its shot in the second half while Spartans’ offense couldn’t get into a rhythm, finishing 11-of-40 (27.5 percent), including 1-of-15 on 3’s.
Senior Emily Hafemann and sophomore Emma Kallas each scored seven points to lead Martin Luther (26-2) in its first state appearance.
Loyal 74, Milw. Acad. of Science 61
Shemera Williams may have stolen the show, but Loyal is going home with the golden ball.
The Greyhounds’ girls basketball team secured its first-ever state championship, winning the WIAA Division 5 title.
MAS (23-5) used a 13-2 run to build a 41-32 lead to start the second half, and led by as many as 13 in the second half, 52-39, capitalizing off Loyal turnovers.
But Loyal (25-4) regrouped and embarked on its own 11-0 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer from Karsyn Rueth. The Greyhounds took a 55-54 lead with five minutes to go on a layup by Morgan Reinwand.
Loyal put an emphatic finish on the game, ending it on a 16-2 run.
Rueth, a 6-foot senior center, used a deft shooting touch and powerful inside game to finish with 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Reinwand, also a senior, scored 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Freshman Remi Geiger added 10 points.
Loyal’s championship team effort eclipsed the individual effort of Williams. The 5-9 sophomore guard scored a Division 5-record 40 points on 16-of-28 shooting.
Williams’ three-point play with 3:51 to go gave her team a 59-58 lead and gave her 37 points, breaking the D5 single-game record of 35 set by Wisconsin Rapids Assumption’s Gena Grundhoffer last year.
Williams’ two-game total of 73 points shattered the tournament mark of 55 set by Grundhoffer.
Tatianya Evans added 10 points for the Novas. It was the first state appearance for both teams.
Hattie Rennart, a senior from Division 5 Shullsburg in southwestern Wisconsin, won the 3-point Challenge on Saturday morning.
Rennart edged Somerset senior Tori Martell 14-13 in the finals to take the title at the Resch Center.
Holmen junior Brooklyn Paulson and Madison East junior Justice Filip also advanced to the semifinals.
The event pitted two top 3-pointer shooters from each division, based on season statistics. Other participants included Brehna Evans of West De Pere, McKenzie Couey of Riverdale, Caitlyn Tipton of Laconia, Savannah Walsdorf of Kiel, Arianna Mason of Stanley-Boyd and Natalie McNeal of Germantown.