Karina Reeves was Badger's leading scorer this season with 13.3 points per game. (click for larger version)
March 05, 2013 | 02:53 PMJANESVILLE — Last year, the Badger girls basketball team went into Janesville Parker and came away with a close victory.
Revenge must have been on the Parker girls' minds Saturday night in a WIAA Division 1 regional final.
The host Vikings wasted little time against Badger, jumping out to a 36-16 halftime lead en route to a 56-36 victory.
Parker took control with a 14-4 second quarter.
Badger finished 16-8 for the second straight season.
"Parker hit shots early and really had great spacing on offense," Badger coach David Jooss said. "They have a really balanced offensive attack, so we could not cheat off any of their players. I thought our girls played extremely hard, sometimes you just have to give the other team credit for playing well."
Jooss said shots didn't really fall for his team in the game. He commended his squad's second-half effort.
Three Parker girls scored in double figures. Karina Reeves, who played in her last game for Badger, led her team with 13 points. Fellow senior Taylar Keenan added nine.
Badger finished 11-3 in the Southern Lakes Conference, good for second place. They went 13-4 after Christmas break and won seven of their final eight games, including a 37-25 regional semifinal win over Kenosha Tremper.
"I was very pleased with our season," Jooss said. "We played our best basketball the second half of the season. I am very proud of the girls and how hard they worked this season."
Badger will say goodbye to seniors Reeves, Keenan, Steph Espinosa, Ariel Altergott, Tristan Sproul, Natalie Ortego, Brooke Behrens and Liberty Wieseman. Jooss said the girls were integral in the program's success.
"This group of seniors is very special," Jooss said. "They have shown great dedication to basketball. There is a bright future for them. The success they shared on the court is just the beginning of what they will accomplish. I am very proud to have coached them, and we will miss them very much."
A family atmosphere
Whether it's recording their own "Harlem Shake" video or sporting fake mustaches, Badger's seniors had fun together on and off the court.
Many have played basketball together since middle school, and the team chemistry was strong.
"Not everyone played a lot this season, but that was because of the talent on the team," said Wieseman, a bench contributor. "Every member of the team was so important. The reason we were successful was because the second team always practiced hard against the starters. We knew that whoever was in the game was prepared because of our practices."
Reeves, who led the team with 13.3 points per game, said team chemistry played a big role in the team's success.
Ortego, a key reserve player, said the team played better when it played together.
"I've learned so much from my coaches and teammates in my four years," Ortego said. "I can't thank them enough."
Altergott said it was a basketball family.
"Not only do you have to have love for the game, but you have to always have a positive mindset and a motivation that is above and beyond. The leadership we had on this team and the team chemistry made me realize how special this sport is. We adopted our own kind of family."
Keenan, who stepped up offensively in the last month of the season, said her teammates made each other better every practice.
"I learned how to be an all-around player," Keenan said. "That includes on and off the court along with team chemistry."