Milton’s Eide would love to finish basketball career with a state title
The Milton High School senior plans to hang up her basketball sneakers after the Red Hawks’ season is complete.
Despite numerous collegiate offers, basketball is not in Eide’s future. Two knee surgeries, including major reconstructive surgery in 2008, made the decision an easy one.
Eide, however, is not ready to call it quits yet. She hopes to go out in style. The 6-foot-2 Eide would like nothing better than to join her teammates in hoisting a gold ball, and become one of the few athletes who can say they won the last game they ever played.
“I’ve put on a lot of pressure on myself because I know the next time I step on the court might be the last time,” Eide said. “But we have such good chemistry on the team now, and after beating (Madison) Edgewood, we know as a team what it’s going to take now each and every game.
“It was hard watching our (Milton) boys play their last game because for the seniors, that was it. That was pretty emotional for me, and that’s when it really hit me about playing my last game. But right now, all I’m worried about, and all the team is worried about, is our game Friday night.”
Eide won her second straight Badger South scoring title this season, finishing with a 16.0 average and helping the Red Hawks win the undisputed Badger South championship. Eide had a game-high 18 points in Milton’s impressive 55-45 win at Edgewood last Thursday that sewed up the conference title on the last night of the regular season.
Milton coach Scott Randall, who has guided the sixth-ranked Red Hawks to an 18-3 record this season, said Eide’s perseverance through two knee surgeries and countless hours of rehabilitation has been a constant source of inspiration to her teammates.
“With two knee surgeries, it would’ve been easy for a lot of kids to say I’ve had enough. My body can’t take anymore,” Randall said of Eide. “But Liz never grew complacent when it came to her rehab. She got after it every day, and I know our trainer really pushed her, and she was always up to the challenge.
“Liz is just a super kid. She’s mature, and she makes good decisions based on what’s best for the team. She has always put the team first.”
Milton is a No. 1 seed in its WIAA Division regional and begins tournament play at home Friday against Whitewater. The Red Hawks appear to be on a collision course with second-ranked Southern Lakes Conference champion Union Grove (21-1) in a Sun Prairie Sectional semifinal game at Janesville Craig on Thursday, March 17.
The Red Hawks’ three losses this season were to Division 1 schools Franklin and Sussex Hamilton, along with Edgewood.
Eide knows the key for Milton in the postseason will be to start strong and finish fast.
“We’ve got to come out fired up and ready to play,” Eide said. “The games where we haven’t come out pumped up are when we don’t play our best.
“And if we get a lead, we can’t let up. We have a tendency to let teams back in the game.”
The big question is what happens if Eide can help lead the Red Hawks to a state title? Will that change her mind about playing at the next level?
“No,” Eide said emphatically. “There has been so much adversity, and I’ve gone through so much with my knee injuries that I just want a chance to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.
“Right now, it’s all about the team for me. I don’t want this season to end because it has been so much fun to be around the team. That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”