Wilmot captures second straight SLC crown at Badger
Special to The Gazette
LAKE GENEVA--Lake Geneva Badger girls basketball coach David Jooss could see Wilmot slowly opening up a lead late in the second quarter, but he simply couldn't find a way to stop it.
The Badgers hit a painful cold spell late in the second quarter during a decisive 10-0 Panther run that helped turn the game in Wilmot's favor.
Wilmot never looked back from there and cruised to its second consecutive Southern Lakes Conference championship with a decisive 54-31 victory here Tuesday evening.
Samantha Kirk had a game-high 15 points, while Rachel Szydlowski had 14, and Keri Clements added 11 for Wilmot (14-7, 12-1).
“We battled hard to win this conference championship,” Wilmot coach Keiya Square said. “We have a deep team with 11 players that can play, which should help us in the playoffs.”
Lake Geneva Badger (16-5, 10-3), meanwhile, falls into a second-place tie with Waterford, with the two teams playing each other in a regular-season finale Thursday. The Badgers will then have eight days off before hosting Beloit Memorial in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal on March 7.
“This is the tough part of our schedule, with Grove on the road and then Wilmot and Waterford at home,” said Jooss, whose team needed a win over the Panthers to keep its slim conference-title hopes alive. “We've got to watch the film and get better for our last game of the regular season Thursday.”
Wilmot certainly proved to be the toughest part of the schedule.
After both teams traded baskets for the first quarter and a half, the Panthers finally grabbed the upper hand late in the second with the 10-0 run that put them up 24-14 at halftime.
“They are a good team, and we just couldn't knock down shots,” Jooss said. “I didn't think it was something a timeout would fix. It was just kind of a slow 10-0 run where there wasn't a lot of adjustments to be made, because we just didn't knock down shots.”
Wilmot took full advantage of the Badgers' shooting woes in the second half, building its lead to 35-21 after three quarters. The Panthers, behind Kirk's nine second-half points, continued to pour it on in the fourth, leading by as many as 22 points.
“They are a hard team to come back from with their full-court press,” Jooss said. “They're just a good basketball team.”