WIAA girls basketball: TR reaches D3 sectional final

WIAA girls basketball: TR reaches D3 sectional final

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WIAA girls basketball: TR reaches D3 sectional final

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KIMBERLY

It’s amazing what eight minutes can do.

At halftime of Thursday night’s WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal game, the Two Rivers girls basketball team had its hands full with a scrappy Wrightstown squad.

The Raiders led the upset-minded Tigers 23-21 at the half. But by the end of the third, Two Rivers saw its lead grow to 17 points.

From there on out, it was all Raiders as Two Rivers recorded a 63-48 win and set itself up for a date with Oconto Falls Saturday night in Ashwaubenon with a trip to State on the line.

Two Rivers was clinging to a one-point lead after the opening quarter.

Wrightstown (11-15) took its first lead of the game just over two minutes into the second. The two teams traded three pointers and a seesaw battle ensued with the Raiders, eventually coming out on top, holding the two-point edge at the break.

Then came the third.

The Raiders (20-4) opened the half on an 8-0 run thanks, in large part, to Marissa Broehm who scored the first five points of the quarter. By the time the dust settled, Two Rivers had out-scored Wrightstown 21-6 over the eight-minute span.

“That third quarter was huge,” Two Rivers head coach Mike Schultz said. “We talked at halftime. We didn’t really talk about changing anything, we just talked about doing our stuff better. I thought to start that third quarter we came out and attacked the basket.”

Over on the other sideline, Wrightstown head coach Mike Froehlke was sensing his team’s demise.

“In the third quarter we came out and didn’t shoot well. They forced some mistakes and they scored on the other end,” Froehlke said. “We had the lead in the second quarter and were down two at the half and, at some point in the third quarter, we were down 20. They really laid it to us in the third.”

The Tigers successfully held Two Rivers’ Kenzie and Alexi Walesh to 10 and six points, respectively. Combined, the duo averages over 24 points per game. Many teams would have been in a bind with their two leading scorers held relatively in check, but the Raiders seemingly didn’t bat an eye.

“All season long, we’ve had girls step up when people take away (Alexi) and Kenzie,” Schultz said. “We’re not a two-person team. We have all sorts of girls who can put the ball in the hole when given the opportunity.”

Alyson Wanek scored a game-high 16 points, including 13 in the second half, to lead Two Rivers’ offensive attack. Elena Garcia added 14 of her own. Broehm finished with nine points and Bailee Walesh got in on the act with eight.

The point totals for Wanek, Garcia, and Bailee Walesh were each career highs.

Wanek’s knew her performance came in a game which was pivotal for her team.

“It’s really great,” Wanek said. “We needed to win this to play on Saturday for a chance to go to State and that was our main goal, to keep winning.”

The Raiders are winners of their last three games and have come out on top in seven of their last eight. They will be appearing in their first sectional final since 2004 and are seeking the third trip to the State Tournament in program history and the first since 2002.

Oconto Falls (21-3) finished the regular season tied for second in the Bay Conference. The Panthers are seeking their first ever trip to State.

The two schools have faced very different paths on their treks through the postseasons. The Raiders are yet to encounter a team with a record of .500 or above in the playoffs. In fact, the combined record of Two Rivers’ three postseason opponents is 30-45. Oconto Falls, on the on the other hand, is yet to square off with a team which is less than 12-games over .500. The Panthers three playoff foes are a combined 62-12.

The disparity in the overall quality in opponents may be pronounced, but that is to no fault of the Raiders. After all, they can only beat the teams in front of them. Two Rivers also boasts a 5-3 record against opponents with records above .500 this season.

And with that, the stage is set. The two teams will tangle Saturday night in Ashwaubenon at 7 p.m. The winner advances to State.

It will be a quick turnaround for Schultz and company, but the head man believes his squad will be ready.

“Like I said earlier in the paper, we’re sick of practicing,” Schultz said. “There’s only so much you can do now at this part of the season. Teams can’t do a whole lot that you haven’t seen all year. So, we’ll have a good practice (Friday), we’ll come in Saturday morning and then we’ll be ready to go Saturday night.”

Wrightstown
10 11 6 21 — 48

Two Rivers
11 12 21 19 — 63

Wrightstown — Linzmeier 2, Nennig 12, Tanck 3, Eggert 2, Hansen 14, Wolske 4, Klister 11. 3-pt: Nennig, Hansen, Klister 2. FT: 10-17. Fouls: 16.

Two Rivers — Wanek 16, A. Walesh 6, Broehm 9, K. Walesh 10, B. Walesh 8, Garcia 14. 3-pt: Wanek 2, A. Walesh, K. Walesh. FT: 15-24 Fouls: 14.

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