Brodhead out in Division 3 semifinals
GREEN BAY—Overtime belonged to Jenny Lindner.
Now she and the Neillsville Warriors own a spot in a state championship game for the second time in three years.
Lindner scored all 10 of Neillsville’s points in overtime from the free-throw line and finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds. She lifted the Warriors to a 51-43 victory over Brodhead in the Cardinals’ very first trip the WIAA state tournament at the Resch Center.
Neillsville, the Division 4 champion in 2012, will face Kettle Moraine Lutheran in the Division 3 title game today.
“We were the one- and two-ranked teams in the state pretty much all year, and that’s exactly the way the game played out, with two very good teams going at each other,” Brodhead coach Brad Pickett said. “The difference obviously was Lindner.
“We fought; we just didn’t get a couple breaks to go our way.”
Neillsville spent the entire season ranked No. 1 in the state, with Brodhead constantly ranked second. Both teams were 26-0 entering Friday’s play.
It was also a battle of future Division I college players, with Cardinals senior Carly Mohns—who will play for Iowa—battling Lindner, who is headed to UW-Milwaukee.
The result was hardly a one-on-one battle, but the game was a classic, with the lead changing hands 14 times and the score tied on 11 different occasions.
Brodhead kept Lindner fairly quiet in the first half and led by three points late in the second quarter. With under a minute left, Lindner picked up steam by burying a 3-pointer and following it up with a layup.
“She can do a lot of different things, as far as she can shoot, she can drive and she can also post up,” Mohns said. “Credit to her for making some big plays.”
Meanwhile, the Warriors defended Mohns with double- and sometimes triple-teams.
They rarely let the 6-footer catch the ball with room on the block, and she finished 5 of 10 from the field for 10 points and added 13 rebounds.
“One of the things I think teams do a lot against Carly is front her and deny,” Neillsville coach John Gaier said. “What we tried to do was play solid from behind and get help coming down, and not allow her to turn. She’s so athletic that if she gets the ball over the top and you don’t get help, you’re in real trouble.”
Senior guards Meg Duffield and Rachel Heller combined for four first-half 3-pointers to offset the inside struggles.
Neither team led by more than three points in the second half, and Mohns’ clutch, turnaround jumper with 17.4 seconds left tied the game at 41. Lindner couldn’t connect at the other end, and Brodhead senior Duffield (team-high 12 points) missed a last-ditch heave.
It sent the teams to overtime, where the Cardinals were without senior Heller (10 points) and sophomore Amber Pickel, who fouled out during regulation.
“(We were) a couple players down, but this team all year has battled through some adversity,” Pickett said. “Carly made a tough shot to send it to overtime, and it felt good because you’re still playing.
“That lead extended a little bit there in overtime, and you’re forced to foul.”
The Cardinals missed their first eight shots in overtime and were forced to foul Lindner throughout. She went 10-for-10 from the stripe in the extra four minutes and 18-for-19 overall.
It took a record-setting performance to end Brodhead’s first-ever state run. The 18 made free throws were the most ever in a state girls game, regardless of division, and the 19 attempts and 16 consecutive freebies made were new Division 3 records.
“If it (had to) end, I would want to end it here in Green Bay, but maybe just one more game ahead,” Mohns said. “It’s going to be kind of hard to know—that I won’t be playing with these girls anymore.”
NEILLSVILLE 51, BRODHEAD 43 (OT)
Neillsville (51)—Crothers, 4-1-11; Lindner, 6-18-33; Henchen, 1-1-4; D. Pfeiffer, 1-0-2; Gleisner, 0-1-1. Totals: 12-21-51.
Brodhead (43)—Heller, 2-4-10; Pickel, 1-3-5; Mohns, 5-0-10; Duffield, 4-0-12; Moe, 1-1-4; Kloepping, 1-0-2. Totals: 14-8-43.
Neillsville 10 17 6 8 10—51
Brodhead 12 13 9 7 2—43
Three-point goals—Neillsville 6 (Crothers 2, Lindner 3, Henchen), Brodhead 7 (Heller 2, Duffield 4, Moe). Free throws missed—Neillsville 6, Brodhead 5. Total fouls—Neillsville 11, Brodhead 21. Fouled out—Heller, Pickel.