Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

BREAKING: Sabers silence Lady Badgers in regional final

by Mike Ramczyk

March 10, 2011

Franklin -- For the first eight minutes of action Saturday afternoon, the Badger girls basketball squad seemed poised for an upset of the fourth-seeded Franklin Sabers in a Division 1 regional final tilt.

Badger came out strong, jumping out to a 12-11 lead after the opening quarter. But in the second quarter, those hopes of advancing to sectionals quickly dissipated.

Franklin outscored Badger, 20-4, in the second quarter, opening up a 15-point halftime lead en route to a 52-36 victory.

With the loss, Badger finished its season 12-11. Franklin improved to 14-8.

Franklin's physical, ball-hawking defense shut down passing lanes for Badger all game and led to plenty of fast-break layups. Badger coach David Jooss said Franklin was one of the most athletic clubs his team has seen all year.

"We came out and hit some shots early, and we made them take contested shots," he said. "But they were able to score in transition. They are very athletic, and they were able to get up and down the floor quickly. And they finished well. Franklin's a team that has lost to only ranked teams. They're a good basketball team. They were physical and long, and it was hard to throw over the top of them."

After trailing 31-16 at halftime, the Lady Badgers weren't about to call it quits. The girls picked up their defensive intensity in the third quarter, opening the period with an 8-4 run. Emma Kopp drained a three-pointer, then Karina Reeves' steal and layup along with a Lana Wieseman layup cut the Franklin advantage to 35-24 with 3:44 left in the third quarter. Wieseman added two free throws to cut the deficit to 37-26 after three quarters.

Around the 6:30 mark in the fourth quarter, two Reeves free throws put the game within single digits at 37-28. Jooss was pleased with his squad's second-half adjustments.

"We created some different angles for our guards so we could reverse the ball," he said. "We took care of the ball a little better in the third quarter, and we forced them into some turnovers."

But with a chance to slim the margin to eight points with 6 minutes remaining, a Wieseman jumper rattled in and out and Franklin quickly capitalized with a triple to open the lead back up to 41-28. Franklin utilized a late 10-1 run to lead 48-29 with 3:44 left, and Badger's comeback chances vanished.

"The ball just didn't fall for us late in the game," Jooss said. "Franklin's pretty good at scoring in bunches. They had some big runs. Our kids are resilient. We have some great leaders. Even when they got it up to 15 or 16 points, we battled and cut it to nine. I'm proud of that. We showed that we were close. We were a couple plays away from that game going down to the last few minutes."

Wieseman paced Badger with 15 points, and Kopp added 11 points including three three-pointers. Cassidy Mihalko led Franklin with a game-high 18 points.

Badger will say goodbye to four seniors, Sara Reek, Abby Ketchpaw, Bergen Quaerna and Brittney Paul. Reek said it was a tough loss but an overall good season.

"We did really well in the first quarter, but we got down a little in the second quarter," Reek said. "We got fired up after halftime. Franklin was good. This year, we really worked well together and finished strong. We had a better season than last year. Coaches told us there are only five teams that end with a win. It's depressing, but most teams end with a loss."

Jooss said his squad overachieved all season.

"Coming into the year, we were predicted to finish sixth in conference," he said. "To take second place by ourselves, it shows the work ethic of the kids in the offseason. The kids were in the gym a lot, and we have had good leadership. With all those things together, we had a successful season."

Check Wednesday's Regional News for a full story.

Other area scores

Friday

Girls basketball

Division 3 regional final

(2) Brodhead 53, (6) Big Foot 43

Check Wednesday's Regional News for results from Big Foot's playoff run.