East Troy girls gain title bid
GREEN BAY Neillsville entered Friday’s Division 3 state semifinal game riding a 54-game winning streak.
The East Troy bomb squad put an end to it.
Rachel Atchison made a record six 3-pointers and Breanna Gaspervich scored 25 points as East Troy disposed of the top-ranked Warriors, 68-56.
East Troy (26-1) plays Kewaunee at approximately 2:30 p.m. today for the state title.
The Trojans trailed by six early in the third quarter, but dialed in from long distance to take control. East Troy made a Division 3 record 11 3s, which tied the all-division record set by Milwaukee Pius XI in 2010.
“I know I’ve got the best shooters around,” East Troy coach Jeff Brown said. “And it’s no secret why. They work hard at it, often times staying late after practice.”
Defending Division 4 champion Neillsville (26-1) took its largest lead of the game, six points, on Molly Attoe’s basket to start the second half, but East Troy responded with a 17-3 run spearheaded by Gaspervich. The Northern Michigan recruit hit a 3 to cut the Trojans’ deficit to three and followed that up with a jumper in the lane to close the gap to one at 34-33 with 4:56 left in the third. Her 3-pointer from deep in the right corner on the Trojans’ next possession gave her team the lead for good.
“I had a fire in me like I could do it,” Gaspervich said of her third-quarter outburst that saw her account for 11 of the team’s 21 points. “Once I made the first 3, that gave me the confidence I needed.”
East Troy kept the defending champs at bay in the fourth thanks to eight free throws in the last two minutes. The Trojans were a respectable 19 of 27 from the line.
East Troy had no answer for Jennifer Lindner in the first half, but stayed close thanks to the 3-ball. Lindner, a gifted 5-foot-11 junior guard, had 22 points in the first half, including a nearly perfect 12 of 13 performance from the line. She managed only four points in the second half, including a meaningless 3 late in the game.
Atchison tied the Division 3 state record in the first half with four 3-pointers as the Trojans went 5-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Neillsville coach John Gaier said their Trojans were as good as advertised.
“We knew they could shoot, but they’re also very quick,” Gaier said. “Their quickness allowed them to stretch the floor on us.
“I figured it would be a game of tempo and who could control it. And I don’t think I have to tell you which team was able to do that.”
That team would be the bomb squad from East Troy, which is now one game away for the school’s first gold ball.
n Kewaunee 40, Lodi 27—To win the state championship, East Troy will need to knock off a defending state champion for the second consecutive day.
Reigning Division 3 champ Kewaunee (26-1) led the entire way in a 40-27 victory over Lodi in the first game of Friday’s schedule.
The Blue Devils narrowed their deficit to five points with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Kelsey Stangel buried a 3-pointer and a transition layup and the Storm led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
Stangel led all scorers with 17 points while Kewaunee’s Alex Richard added 14. Gretchen Schultz paced Lodi with seven.
EAST TROY 68, NEILLSVILLE 56
East Troy (68)—Morris, 0-3-3; Olsen, 2-8-12; Oleson, 3-0-7; Gaspervich, 7-7-25; Atchinson, 6-1-19; Riemer, 1-0-2. Totals: 19-19-68.
Neillsville (56)—Crothers, 2-0-5; Attoe, 4-1-9; Lindner, 5-13-26; Naughton, 3-1-7; Opelt, 1-0-3; Larrabee, 0-1-1; Bethea, 0-1-1; Barth, 2-0-4. Totals: 17-17-56.
East Troy 12 16 21 19—68
Neillsville 14 18 8 16—56
Three-point goals—East Troy 11 (Atchison 6, Gaspervich 4, Oleson), Neillsville 5 (Lindner 3, Crothers, Opelt). Free throws missed—East Troy 8, Neillsville 7. Total fouls—East Troy 19, Neillsville 21. Fouled out—Crothers.
KEWAUNEE 40, LODI 27
Kewaunee (40)—Stangel, 7-2-17; Richard, 6-2-14; Kudick, 0-1-1; Kleiman, 2-2-8. Totals: 15-7-40.
Lodi (27)—Jiran, 1-0-2; Baker, 3-0-6; Schutz, 3-1-7; Gallagher, 1-0-3; Paulson, 2-0-4; Granath, 2-1-5. Totals: 12-1-27.
Kewaunee 7 13 6 14—40
Lodi 4 10 5 8—27
Three-point goals—Kewaunee 3 (Stangl, Klieman 2), Lodi 2 (Schutz, Granath). Free throws missed—Kewaunee 6, Lodi 0.
Total fouls—Kewaunee 8, Lodi 13.