WIAA girls sectional finals: Neillsville, Owen-Withee, Colby all playing for state berths

WIAA girls sectional finals: Neillsville, Owen-Withee, Colby all playing for state berths

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WIAA girls sectional finals: Neillsville, Owen-Withee, Colby all playing for state berths

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Neillsville and Owen-Withee played for state titles a year ago — Neillsville won the Division 4 title and Owen-Withee lost in Division 5 — and can return to state tonight.

Colby also has a state berth on the line, and this would be its first.

Neillsville is in Division 3 this season. Here’s a look at what those teams face in sectional final games tonight.

Neillsville (25-0) vs. Ladysmith (23-2)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: River Falls High School

What you need to know: The defending state champs, Neillsville has won 53 consecutive games and another victory would put the Warriors back in the state tournament, this time at the Resch Center in Green Bay, to defend their crown. Jenny Lindner leads the team in scoring with nearly 17 points per night and Alleah Voigt has returned from a torn ACL to provide a dynamic one-two punch. Ladysmith hasn’t lost since Jan 9 to Colfax, who faces Colby in a Division 4 sectional final.

How Neillsville will win: Having won 53 consecutive games, just keep doing what they have been fits here. A big night by Lindner and a strong defensive effort similar to its 46-28 sectional semifinal win over Aquinas and the Warriors will be back at state.

Colby (19-6) vs. Colfax (24-1)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Chippewa Falls High School

What you need to know: In a season of firsts, including the school’s first regional championship, Colby will be making its first appearance in a sectional championship game, looking to complete a miraculous postseason run with a trip to Green Bay for the state tournament. Senior Sarah Gamillo leads the Hornets in scoring at 11.4 points per game, while Mallie Doucette paces the Vikings with 11.6 points per game.

How Colby will win: The Hornets need to slow down Dunn-St. Croix Conference champion Colfax, which has been averaging 58 points through three postseason games. Meanwhile, Colby has limited teams to just 37.7 points in the tournament behind a troublesome 1-3-1 zone.

Owen-Withee (23-3) vs. South Shore (25-0)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Spooner High School

What you need to know: Owen-Withee seeks a return trip to state, where the Blackhawks advanced to the state title game in 2012. But the Blackhawks face a stiff test in South Shore. The Cardinals have Megan and Emily Gustafson. Megan Gustafson leads the state in points per game with 30.6 and nearly 13 rebounds. Emily Gustafson averages 18 points and a state-leading 18 rebounds.

How Owen-Withee will win: The Blackhawks just need to stick to their balanced scoring, but will need one or two players to have breakout performances. Aleyna Goerlitz, Stephany Heggemeier, Bailey Karaba, Kenadi Batchelor Goerlitz averages 14 points per game and Heggemeier 13.9 to pace O-W. Another key will be staying out of foul trouble, which will be a feat in itself going against the dynamic inside duo of South Shore.

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