Brodhead girls basketball team earns spot at state
MIDDLETON—The figure “1:24” is one the Brodhead girls basketball players are not allowed to forget.
It's plastered on the back of their warmup shirts, a constant reminder of how close the Cardinals were to winning a sectional semifinal a year ago before missing out on a chance to realize their state dreams.
In front of a packed Middleton gymnasium on Saturday, they put the number to rest.
Senior Carly Mohns scored 18 points, including five in the final 84 seconds when the Cardinals turned their three-point lead into a 36-25 victory over Adams-Friendship in a WIAA Division 3 sectional final. Brodhead will play at the state tournament for the first time in program history on Friday.
“This is the craziest feeling,” Brodhead senior Rachel Heller said. “This is what we've worked for all four years of high school, and we're finally doing it my senior year. It's the greatest feeling.”
Brodhead, ranked second in D3 all season, will take on Neillsville, which has been ranked No. 1 all year, in a state semifinal at the Resch Center in Green Bay at 10:45 Friday morning. Neillsville beat Hayward 31-30 on Saturday.
“They deserve it,” Brodhead coach Brad Pickett said of his group. “They've worked hard all season, and not just this season, but a lot of kids put a lot of time in.
“We probably put scoring back a couple years, but we made plays when we needed to.”
It was the Cardinals' lowest scoring output of the season. They went the first four minutes without a point and didn't make a basket until the final 40 seconds of the first quarter.
But Mohns, a University of Iowa recruit, imposed her will in the second. She didn't take a shot in the first quarter but made her first five in the second, and it propelled Brodhead to a 16-13 lead at halftime.
“It was a little different, but I think we adjusted,” Mohns said. “We had to be focused and know what was on the line.
“(For me), it was just being aggressive and trying to find whatever was open.”
Adams-Friendship erased a six-point deficit thanks to a spurt by leading scorer Emma Roenneburg late in the third quarter. Roenneburg, who averages nearly 20 points per game, finished with a team-high 11.
But once again, Brodhead senior guard Meg Duffield came up with the momentum-crushing basket. For the second straight game, Duffield buried a 3-pointer that ended the opponents' run. It gave Brodhead a 22-19 lead that the Cardinals never surrendered.
The Green Devils did, however, cut the mark to three points on Roenneburg's bucket with a little more than two minutes to play.
And when the clock hit 1:24, the Cardinals were faced with making that lead hold up.
“It's a friendly reminder on our backs from last year and that 1:24 with Lodi,” Pickett said, referencing a loss one step earlier in the playoffs last year. “The girls stepped up when they needed to. Hopefully we can go get a couple more.”
In the final 1:24, Brodhead forced five empty Adams-Friendship possessions in six trips. And at the other end, the Cardinals made 10 of 12 free-throw attempts to salt away a trip to state.
“We finally redeemed ourselves,” Heller said. “We were all just so hungry to go to state. We weren't going to let it go.”
BRODHEAD 36, ADAMS-FRIENDSHIP 25
Brodhead (36)—Heller, 1-2-5; Duffield, 1-2-5; Pickel, 0-1-1; Moe, 2-2-7; Mohns, 6-6-18. Totals: 10-13-36.
Adams-Friendship (25)—Farrell, 1-0-3; Sternhagen, 1-0-2; Hodkiewicz, 2-1-5; Roenneburg, 4-2-11; Landon, 2-0-4. Totals: 10-3-25.
Brodhead 3 13 6 14—36
Adams-Friendship 8 5 6 6—25
Three-point goals—Brodhead 3 (Heller, Duffield, Moe), Adams-Friendship 2 (Farrell, Roenneburg). Free throws missed—Brodhead 9, Adams-Friendship 1. Total fouls—Brodhead 6, Adams-Friendship 18. Fouled out—Hodkiewicz.