Tonight in Kimberly, the Two Rivers girls basketball team will take the court in a sectional semifinal for the first time since 2004.
The Raiders (19-4) take on Wrightstown (11-14) a team which finished tied for sixth in the Olympian Conference. The two teams did not meet during the regular season, but Two Rivers head coach Mike Schultz has been brushing up on the Tigers and he is impressed with what he sees.
“They have some shooters that you can’t leave open or they’ll knock down shots,” Schultz said. “They’re not the biggest team, but they’re all fairly athletic. You can’t let them just stand out and shoot open threes.”
While studying Wrightstown, Schultz was able to draw comparisons to teams his squad is more familiar with.
“The way they get after you on defense, they kind of remind me like kind of a Roncalli team,” Schultz said. “Defensively, they’re going to be one of the better teams we’ve played, at least from an intensity stand point.”
The comparisons also translate to the offensive side of things.
“Shooting-wise, I guess they remind me a little bit of a Sheboygan Falls-type team,” Schultz said. “They’ll knock down shots if you leave them open. You kind of need to turn them into drivers more so than shooters.”
Though none of his players have been on a team which has advanced this far in postseason play, Schultz said he hasn’t noticed any visible signs of nerves while his players have been preparing.
“They’ve been fine. Practices have been good,” Schultz said. “They’re not really fazed by anything. We’re ready to go. They’re just excited to get the game going. They’re kind of sick of practicing at the end of the year here.”
Sophomore guard Alexi Walesh has led the Raiders in scoring in both of their playoff games, averaging a hair under 15 points per contest which is a slight increase from her average of 12.7 throughout the course of this season.
Schultz hopes to see his team get off to a quick starts once the whistle blows.
“Obviously, you don’t want to play from behind. Getting out to a good start and just getting that confidence is just huge especially as the season kind of winds down,” Schultz said. “It just seems like its an added to bonus to get out to a quick start.”
The Raiders may be hitting the road for the first time this postseason, but Schultz doesn’t believe the unfamiliar confines will be a factor.
“We’ve gone on the road and played really so I don’t think playing in a different place is going to bother us at all,” Schultz said. “I think if we go out and play like we can we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”