Four teams each in Divisions 4 and 5 played Thursday for the right to go to Saturday’s title games.
Colfax 42, Racine Prairie 41
Ryleigh Prochnow converted one of her two free throw attempts with just over a minute and a half remaining to give Colfax the lead for good as the Vikings hung on to defeat Racine Prairie 42-41 and advance to the WIAA Division 4 title game Saturday afternoon.
Colfax had to hold its breath over the final 20 seconds as Racine Prairie star Gabrille Ortiz had a couple different chances to bring her team back.
Ortiz’s defender fell down on an inbounds play, leaving her open for a go-ahead three-pointer from the right corner that rattled out. Then, trailing by two points, Ortiz went to the free throw line for a 1-and-1, but a lane violation by the Hawks gave the ball back to Colfax with 15.3 seconds to play.
After another 1-for-2 at the charity stripe by Hannah Hover put the Vikings up by three, Racine Prairie missed a three from the right wing, stole the rebound and frantically laid it in as time expired for the game’s final score.
Braanna Steen led the Vikings with a game high 16 points, including 10 in the first half as they took a one-point lead into the break. Steen took advantage of some early foul trouble by Racine Prairie’s force down low, Kate Andreucci, who picked up her second personal foul late in the first quarter.
Colfax converted seven of its 10 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
This will be the Vikings’ first championship game appearance, matching up with Algoma at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Ortiz finished with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half.
Trailing by four in the early moments of the fourth quarter, Ortiz hit a three-pointer and followed with another bucket to trim the lead the one. Megan Wolf then drilled a three from the right wing to give the Hawks their first lead of the second half at 37-35. After Steen scored down low to tie the game, Ortiz again hit a 10-foot jumper to reclaim the lead.
But the Vikings scored their final five points at the free throw line while holding Ortiz scoreless the rest of the game.
“She’s (Gabrielle Ortiz) just absolutely fantastic with the ball,” coach Joe Doucette said. “But I thought our team defense was great and Ryleigh Prochnow was great on her.”
Racine Prairie finishes the season 24-3 overall.
Algoma 62, Cuba City 39
Algoma rode the inside game of Anna Dier and the playmaking of Taylor Schmidt on Thursday right into Saturday’s WIAA Division 4 state championship game.
Dier, a 5-foot-11 freshman, entered Thursday’s semifinal against Cuba City averaging 8 points per game. She matched that midway through the first half as the Wolves built a lead that wouldn’t be challenged in a 62-39 victory at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
Algoma (25-2) will face Colfax in Saturday’s title game.
After Dier, who led the Wolves with 18 points, did most of her damage in the first half, it was Schmidt’s turn in the second half. As the offensive catalyst, she set up teammates for easy scores and on defense spearheaded a potent full-court press. Schmidt, a 5-6 senior guard, finished with 13 points. She was the Packerland Conference player of the year after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season.
In the first half, Dier had 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting, six rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots to pace Algoma to a 30-18 halftime lead. The Wolves shot 50 percent from the field in the first half.
Algoma scored the game’s first 10 points and held a 12-5 lead after the first quarter.
The Wolves will be playing Saturday for their first state title in 27 years and third overall.
Barneveld 54, South Shore 45
Barneveld handed one team its only loss of the season and, in doing so, set itself up to avenge its only loss of the season.
The Golden Eagles got a team-high 15 points from sophomore Rachel Slaney to defeat previously unbeaten South Shore 54-45 in a WIAA Division 5 semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Resch Center. The victory puts Barneveld in Saturday’s state championship game against Wisconsin Rapids Assumption.
Barneveld’s only loss this season came against Assumption, 44-41, midway through the season.
Freshman Hannah Whitish added 11 for Barneveld (27-1), which was outsized underneath by South Shore’s sister towers: 6-foot-3 sophomore Megan Gustafson and 6-2 senior Emily Gustafson.
Megan Gustafson led the state in scoring at 31.1 points per game and added 12.7 rebounds per game. Emily Gustafson led the state in rebounding at a 17.7 clip and added 18 points per game.
But Slaney, giving away 4 and 5 inches to the Gustafson sisters, held her own in the middle.
Behind Megan Gustafson’s solid play inside, South Shore had cut Barneveld’s lead to 42-37 after three quarters. The Gustafson sisters played with three fouls each through much of the third quarter.
Barneveld connected on 5 of 11 first-half 3-pointers and held South Shore to 10 fewer shot attempts to take a 29-19 halftime lead. Hannah Whitish’s team-high 8 first half points all came in the first quarter. Megan Gustafson led South Shore with 10 first-half points.
South Shore’s enrollment is 42; with 10 players, a quarter of the student body suited up.
Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 60, Wausau Newman Catholic 37
The Wisconsin Rapids Assumption girls basketball team avenged its only loss this season with a 60-37 victory over Wausau Newman Catholic in a WIAA Division 5 state semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Resch Center.
Junior Mary Sigler led the Royals with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Freshman Gena Grundhoffer added 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Assumption (27-1) moves on to Saturday’s championship game against the winner of the South Shore-Barneveld semifinal. Newman, which was held to 27.1 percent shooting, ends its season 20-8.
The teams split their two games during the regular season: Assumption won the first game 60-45 with Newman winning the rematch 67-59.
The Royals, who shot 52.3 percent in the game, started to pull away for good in the third quarter, outscoring the Cardinals 15-9 behind an effective fast break to take a 50-25 lead into the final period.
Assumption, led by Sigler, a 5-foot-9 guard, and Grundhoffer, a 6-1 forward, with 10 points each, shot 51 percent from the field in the first half. Sigler added 7 rebounds and 6 assists as the Royals took a 35-16 lead into halftime. Kimberley Steif’s 5 points led Newman. She would finish with a team-high 8 points.
Grundhoffer’s 12-footer at the buzzer put Assumption ahead 20-7 after one quarter. Grundhoffer’s 7 first-quarter points and Sigler’s 6 led the Royals, whose roster includes only one senior.