East Troy playing in first state tournament
That’s what happens when you share a school with a boys basketball team that spent most of the season ranked in the top three in the state.
But for the East Troy High girls basketball team and head coach Jeff Brown, playing second fiddle has had its advantages.
After spending most of the season in the shadow of the boys team, the girls team takes center stage Friday morning. East Troy (24-2) plays Oostburg (22-4) at 10:35 a.m. in the second semifinal game of the WIAA Division 3 state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison. This is East Troy’s first state appearance.
“We were never really worried about the spotlight,” Brown said. “The boys had a very, very good team and deserved the headlines.
“All I told our girls was to not worry about the recognition because if we continue to have success, everybody will get the recognition. I think it has actually been good for us flying under the radar.”
East Troy has saved its best for last. The Trojans enter Friday’s game on a roll, winning 23 of their last 24 games—with the only setback a 4-point loss to Division 1 Franklin.
Five juniors start for East Troy, led by Breanna Gaspervich. The 5-foot-6 guard is averaging 20 points per game and is nearly an 80 percent free-throw shooter. Junior Rachel Atchison averages 13.8 points per game, and Alicia Oleson (10.6 ppg) gives the Trojans three double-figure scorers.
“We’re playing our best basketball of the season at the right time,” Brown said. “The nicest thing about our team is our balance. When teams try to shut Breanna down like Brodhead did in the sectional semifinal game, we’ve had other girls step up.
“And these girls are still hungry. I was worried about a letdown this week because of all the distractions, but we’ve had three good practices.”
Brown credits a strong youth program, not something in the water, for the sudden surge in East Troy basketball. Kids are playing basketball at an early age and it’s paying big dividends. The juniors on the girls team have been playing together since grade school, Brown said.
East Troy plays an Oostburg team Friday that is making its sixth straight state appearance. Brown said the main topic of conversation is about the present and not the past.
“We can’t worry about their legacy or how many times in a row they’ve been to state,” Brown said. “We’re playing this year’s team, not the program.
“I know we’re going to have some early jitters, but we can’t get caught up in the moment.”
The spotlight will finally be on East Troy’s girls basketball team. Right where it belongs.
WIAA State Tournament
At Kohl Center (Madison)
Owen-Withee (23-3) vs. Wausau Newman Catholic (25-1), 1:35 p.m.
Seneca (26-0) vs. Brookfield Heritage Christian (24-2), 3:15 p.m.
Eau Claire Regis (24-2) vs. Oshkosh Lourdes (24-1), 6:35 p.m.
Neilsville (26-0) vs. Howards Grove (25-1), 8:15 p.m.
Barron (21-5) vs. Kewaunee (22-4), 9:05 a.m.
East Troy (24-2) vs. Oostburg (22-4), 10:35 a.m.
New London (26-0) vs. Reedsburg (23-3), 1:35 p.m.
Green Bay Notre Dame (21-5) vs. New Berlin Eisenhower (26-0), 3:15 p.m.
Oshkosh West (20-6) vs. DePere (22-4), 6:35 p.m.
Middleton (21-5) vs. Milwaukee King (20-6), 8:15 p.m.
11:05 a.m.—Division 5 title game.
12:30 p.m.—Division 4 title game.
2:05 p.m.—Division 3 title game
6:35 p.m.—Division 2 title game
8:15 p.m.—Division 1 title game
NOTE: All games are televised live by WKOW/Channel 27.
Last updated: 7:54 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012