Monroe tops Milton to earn state berth
MIDDLETON--The postseason magic disappeared Saturday for Milton High's girls basketball team.
After three upset wins to reach a WIAA Division 2 sectional title game against Monroe, the Red Hawks saw their season come to an end one victory short of a state tournament berth.
Sydney Hilliard led three players in double figures with 24 points as Monroe cruised past Milton 72-49 at Middleton High.
In beating Milton for the third time this season, Monroe 21-3 advanced to the state tournament for the ninth time in program history and the first since 2010. The Cheesemakers, who won state titles in 1989, 2006 and 2008, take on Beaver Dam in a state semifinal Friday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Monroe coach Sam Mathiason quoted the legendary John Wooden when talking about how difficult it can be for a team to beat another team three times in one season.
“Wooden once said that if you're the better team, you kind of like your situation,” Mathiason said of trying to beat Milton for the third time this season. “We knew coming in that Milton had been playing really well. You don't get to the sectional final game unless you are.
“But we also knew that if we did what we were supposed to do and played the way we were capable that we were a pretty good team, too.”
Milton, which finished 15-11, hung with the Cheesemakers for most of the first half before a late surge by Monroe proved to be the difference in the game.
Carley Albrecht, who kept Milton in the game with 10 first-half points, hit two free throws with 3:41 left in the opening half to make it 28-26 Monroe. The Cheesemakers responded with a 10-1 run to end the half and took a 38-27 lead at the break.
Milton got no closer than 11 the second half.
The Red Hawks did a decent job of protecting the ball most of the first half, but four late turnovers led to nine Monroe points.
“We had to play our best basketball of the season today to have a chance to beat them, and unfortunately we didn't,” Milton coach Stacy Skemp said. “They're a very good team, and when you don't take care of the ball, like most good teams do, they make you pay for it.
“But even at halftime in the locker room, we talked about the fact that we were still in the game and just needed to come out strong to start the second half. Instead, we came out flat and Monroe took advantage.”
Monroe began the second half on a 19-9 run to push the lead to 20. Hilliard, a talented sophomore who is getting plenty of Division I college looks, had 12 points in the second half. Sydney Mathiason added 18 points for Monroe, and Emily Benzschawel chipped in 17.
Senior Karlee Krebs led Milton with 12 points and said her team had a successful season despite playing in such a competitive conference as the Badger South.
“Today we had a little lapse at the end of the first half, and against a good team like Monroe, you can't have those,” Krebs said. “But all in all, I couldn't be more proud of this team. And the way the younger kids stepped up during the season was great to see.”
MONROE 72, MILTON 49
Milton (49)—Krebs 6-0-12; Martin 1-0-3; Albrecht 1-7-10; Buescher 2-0-4; Boe 1-0-2; Collins 3-1-7; A. Campion 2-1-7; K. Campion 0-2-2; Johnson 1-0-2. Totals: 17-11-49.
Monroe (72)—Hirsbrunner 4-0-8; L. Hilliard 0-2-2; Benzschawel 4-7-17; S. Hilliard 9-6-24; Mathiason 8-0-18; Kuester 1-0-3. Totals: 26-15-72.
Milton 27 22—49
Monroe 38 34—72
Three-point goals—Milton 4 (A. Campion 2, Albrecht, Martin), Monroe 5 (Mathiason 2, Benzschawel 2, Kuester). Free throws missed—Milton 4, Monroe 2. Total fouls—Milton 18, Monroe 12.