The year of Elkhorn's Cinderella story
ELKHORN -- Not many observers expected them to get that far. And nobody expected them to win it all.
However, the Elkhorn girls basketball team defied those odds, pulling out several games in the final minute, to secure the 1997 WIAA Division 2 state championship.
It's this kind of Cinderella story that helps define the state tournament, and Jim Henriott's Elks did just that in knocking off defending champion Kimberly, 51-48, to raise the Gold Ball in the UW Field House that day in Madison.
This year's tournament, an event that began in 1976, takes place at the Resch Center in Green Bay starting Thursday.
Henriott and the Elks have reached sectionals several times but have not qualified for state since that one magical March run. But what a run it was.
“The thing about that team was its work ethic … they did everything in such a businesslike fashion,” said Henriott, who recently finished his 19th year at the helm. “Whatever anybody threw at them, they came back and had such a never-quit attitude.
“Another thing was that the kids bought into their roles on the team,” he added. “If I said we need three good minutes out of them, we got three good minutes. If somebody was in foul trouble and we needed eight to 10 minutes from our bench players, we usually got it. They did everything that was asked of them without questions or hesitation.”
And it worked. All five starters reached double figures in their 65-56 victory over Whitefish Bay as the Elks pulled away from a 38-37 advantage behind 17 of 19 shooting from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Brooke Van Dyke, who had 12 rebounds, led the way with 16 points, while Erin Carroll and Heather Martin added 12, center Bridget Seegers 11 and point guard and the only junior, Katie (Hommen) Quigg, chipped in 10.
Elkhorn ended 21 of 25 at the line to set a state tourney record, but that only set the stage for more heroics.
Read the complete story HERE.