Experienced East Troy squad accomplishes preseason goals
Division 3 semifinal
Resch Center, Green Bay
9:45 a.m.—East Troy (25-1) vs. Neillsville (26-0)
The bar was set high this season for the East Troy High girls basketball team.
All five starters returned from a team that advanced to the Division 3 WIAA state tournament a year ago.
The Trojans have not disappointed.
East Troy cruised to the Rock Valley North Conference title with a perfect 16-0 record and finished the regular season with a 21-1 mark—the only loss coming to Division 1 powerhouse Franklin. The second-ranked Trojans continue to impress in the postseason, winning four games by an average of 22 points per game.
The next stop is the Resch Center in Green Bay. East Troy (25-1) plays top-ranked and defending Division 4 state champion Neillsville (26-0) in a Division 3 semifinal game at 10:45 a.m. Friday.
"The expectations were high for this group and they should've been," said East Troy coach Jeff Brown. "We're senior-heavy with 10 seniors, and there were a lot of expectations to get back (to state).
"And I think the biggest reason for our success is because this group is so unbelievably unselfish. They don't care who gets the attention or the spotlight."
East Troy is one of the top shooting teams at state in any of the five divisions. The Trojans have made 167 3-point baskets and are averaging 66.2 points per game. Senior sharpshooter Rachel Atchison has made an astounding 82 3-pointers, while leading scorer Breanna Gaspervich (16.7 per game), a Northern Michigan recruit, has added 51.
"Rachel is one of the best shooters I've ever coached," Brown said. "She feels like anywhere in the gym is within her range. I don't always agree with her on that, but when you shoot it like she does, it's hard to argue with her.
"And Breanna is our spark plug. She makes us go because she's so quick and hard to defend."
The three other starters also play vital roles for the Trojans. Senior Alicia Oleson is the point guard and leads the team in assists (144) and rebounds (148).
Andrea Olsen is part of the team's lethal four-guard lineup that has caused opponents fits with its quickness and deadly accuracy from beyond the arc. Olsen plans to play at UW-Whitewater next season.
And senior Frankie Morris starts in the post and leads the team in blocks.
Brown knows his team will have its hands full with Neillsville. The Warriors have won 55 straight games and have not lost since the end of the 2010-11 season.
"I'm sure people are thinking that we're the invited guests to their party," Brown said of Neillsville. "We're going to have to play our best to beat them.
"They haven't given up more than 37 points in a game all season, so we're going to have to find a way to score. I hope we can give them a good game."
As long as East Troy continues its assault from beyond the arc, scoring shouldn't be a problem. Nor should raising the bar a little higher.