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.
Algoma (25-2) will face the winner of the Colfax-Racine Prairie semifinal 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. 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 26 points, tying the D5 state record, while Emily Gustafson’s 17 rebounds set a D5 state record.
South Shore’s enrollment is 42; with 10 players, a quarter of the student body suited up.
Assumption 60, Newman Catholic 37
Assumption avenged its only loss this season with a 60-37 victory Thursday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Junior Mary Sigler led the Royals with 17 points and freshman Gena Grundhoffer added 15.
Assumption (27-1) moves on to Saturday’s championship game against Barneveld. Newman ends its season 20-8.
The teams split two games during the regular season: Assumption won the first game 60-45 with Newman winning the rematch 67-59.
The Royals 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 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.
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.