Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Badger ready for playoff run

by Mike Ramczyk

March 10, 2011

The Badger girls basketball squad just couldn’t get over the hump Friday night at home.

Playing in the regular season finale against Burlington, the girls trailed the entire game in a close 47-44 loss.

Badger finished the season 12-10 overall and 8-6 in the Southern Lakes Conference, earning second place.

The Demons opened up a 37-29 lead after three quarters thanks to a 16-10 third quarter. Burlington hit four triples in the third period. Badger was down by one point in the fourth but couldn’t surpass Burlington. Badger coach David Jooss said the game was frustrating.

“We had the ball at the end and got off a tough three-pointer to tie it,” he said. “But Burlington played good defense and stopped what we were trying to do. We just didn’t make shots at the end, but we rebounded well and played hard.”

Burlington held off Badger in the fourth quarter by hitting six of eight from the foul line. For the game, Burlington hit 10 of 13.

Lana Wieseman paced the Lady Badgers with 18 points and six rebounds. Abby Ketchpaw added 11 points and nine rebounds. Also, sophomore Karina Reeves had a solid line, scoring 11 points with six steals and six rebounds.

Badger finished its regular season losing five of seven games, including three losses by five or fewer points.

“Earlier in the season, we won those close games,” Jooss said. “We have been losing tight games lately. It’s not that we’ve played bad, it’s just that the ball didn’t bounce our way. That happens. We’ve been playing well. I like the season we’ve had. We were predicted to take sixth in conference at the beginning of the season, and we took second. To be in this position, I’m pretty happy.”

A new bracket

With the boys and girls basketball state playoffs changing to five divisions for 2011 instead of the normal four, the fifth-seeded Badgers will open the postseason Saturday in the regional finals at fourth-seeded Franklin, a sectional newcomer. Tip-off is at 1 p.m.

Franklin is 14-8 overall and finished 8-6 with a three-game win streak in the solid Southeast Conference. Jooss is excited to start the playoffs.

“We match up well with Franklin,” he said. “They’re athletic, and they play in a very good conference. They shoot the ball well. But if we play well, we can beat them. We must be fundamentally sound and must box out and use ball fakes.”

Franklin poses a double threat at the guard position with sophomore Cassidy Mihalko (11.6 points per game) and senior guard Mariah Hill (11.2).

“Hill is an athletic point who can shoot and drive,” Jooss said. “Mihalko is a good all-around player. We hope to use our depth and run a lot of players at them. We want to create tired shooters.”

Offensively, Badger boasts balanced scoring led by Wieseman’s 15 points per game. However, Emma Kopp (11.1), Reeves (9.1) and Ketchpaw (7.2) all provide plenty of scoring punch. Jooss said the squad will rely on its overall scoring depth Saturday.

Jooss said Franklin isn’t the only squad who has played tough competition this season.

“Franklin plays in a war of a conference,” he said. “But we have played tough teams, too. We’ve played Muskego, Union Grove twice and Milton. We’re battle-tested, too. We’ve had a good nonconference schedule. We are poised to make a good showing in the playoffs.”