Girls basketball: TR clinches share of EWC crown

Girls basketball: TR clinches share of EWC crown

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Girls basketball: TR clinches share of EWC crown

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PLYMOUTH

The first time the Two Rivers girls basketball team faced Plymouth it needed a last-second Aly Wanek bank shot in order to earn the 45-42 home win. In Friday night’s rematch, no late-game heroics were needed.

In a critical game involving the top two teams in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference standings, Two Rivers grabbed an 11-2 lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed in defeating host Plymouth 42-35 to pull one win away from clinching at least a share of the EWC title.

“They have some very good shooters, so you have to close out on them, and I thought we did a good job of that,” Two Rivers coach Mike Schultz said. “We didn’t do a real good job of boxing out in the first half but we pressured their shooters and didn’t let them get many open looks. That was a key early on.”

With the nine-point lead coming out of a timeout in the opening frame, Plymouth (13-8, 10-3 Eastern Wisconsin Conference) made a run capped by a Gwen Streblow 3-pointer with six seconds left in the first quarter to cut the Two Rivers (17-3, 11-2 EWC) lead to 13-10.

“We just weren’t hitting shots,” Plymouth coach Brad Shutter said of the Panthers’ first-quarter offensive woes. “They were sagging on defense, taking away our drives and inside stuff and we weren’t hitting our outside shots and we surrendered a lot of second-chance opportunities. We weren’t boxing out well.”

Leading 19-14 at halftime, the second half quickly became a back-and-forth battle between Streblow and Two Rivers’ Kenzie Walesh.

Streblow finished with a team-high 15 points, including a 3-pointer that capped the third quarter to make it 30-29 entering the final quarter, but after putting up six points in the first half Walesh added 15 over the final two quarters to pace Two Rivers.

“(Walesh) really got down low tonight and we didn’t think there was anyone on the floor that could stop her,” Schultz said. “She played great on both ends of the floor and we did a nice job of getting the ball inside to her.

“I thought she played outstanding.”

Shutter agreed.

“She played awesome,” Shutter said of Walesh. “She is amazing. Every time she touched the ball we wanted to double her, but we never seemed to get there in time, and even when we thought we had her stopped we didn’t. She is a great player.”

Down the stretch, Streblow had one of many chances to give Plymouth its first lead of the game. At the free throw line trailing 32-31 with 3:55 left, she missed the first of two free throws but tied the game at 32-32 with the second attempt.

It was as close as Plymouth got as Two Rivers made nine straight free throw attempts in the game’s final minutes with the Panthers failing to score on 10 of its second-half possessions with a one-point deficit.

Overall the Raiders were 15-of-21 from the charity stripe while Plymouth finished 5-of-8.

“We played hard, we battled back, I thought we played hard and never quit, we came back but we just never were able to get enough points at the end,” Shutter said.

Besides Streblow, the Panthers also had 10 points from Kaylee Kuhn while Kaily Moegenburg had one point, 12 rebounds, two steals and three assists.

In addition to Kenzie Walesh’s performance, Two Rivers also had a double-digit scoring performance from cousin Alexi Walesh who had 12 points.

With the win, Two Rivers can now earn the outright EWC title with a victory on Thursday over host Waupun (14-7, 10-3 EWC).

Plymouth still can earn a share of the EWC title with a win on Thursday at Kiel (11-8, 7-4 EWC) and a Two Rivers loss.

The Panthers fell to Kiel on a last-second shot at home 43-42 in early January while Two Rivers topped Waupun 34-30 for an early January home win.

“We told them after the game, this just guarantees us a share (of the EWC title),” Schultz said. “We have to win next Thursday to guarantee us (an outright title) we just told them to come back Monday and be focused and hopefully we’ll be greedy and help ourselves.”

Two Rivers…13 6 11 12
— 42


Plymouth…10 4 15 6 — 35

Two Rivers — Wanek 2, Rehrauer 2, A. Walesh 12, Broehm 1, K. Walesh 21, Garcia 2. 3-pt: A. Walesh. FT: 15-21. Fouls: 11.

Plymouth — Kuhn 10, Pieper 2, Moegenburg 1, Reil 5, Streblow 15, Jankowski 2. 3-pt: Kuhn 2, Streblow 2. FT: 5-8 Fouls: 16.

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