Tigers dominate in regional semis

Matt Kraus

HOWARDS GROVE – An uncharacteristic offensive explosion by the Howards Grove Tigers’ girls basketball team in the first 1:30 of the second half here Friday night pushed the Tigers past the visiting Lake Country Lutheran Lightning, 47-24, in regional semifinal action.

The Tigers, 16-7, earned a No. 1 seed in the regional bracket while the Lightning, 14-10, were seeded No. 4. An opening-round 54-34 victory over No. 5 seed Horicon brought Lake Country to Howards.

Nine seconds into the second half, senior guard Morgan Edge hit a three-pointer from the right baseline to give the Tigers a 24- 10 lead. Olivia Stauss quickly followed with a steal and dished to senior Kaitlynn Near, who drove to the hoop and finished with a basket in the lane.

The Near took an outlet pass from Sam Yancy following her defensive rebound, and converted a fast-break layup to give HGHS a 28-10 lead less than a minute into the quarter.

Another steal by Stauss and her drive to the hoop drew a foul, earning her a trip to the foul line for two free throws. She converted only one of the free throws but on the next possession Stauss grabbed her third steal in less than two minutes. Brittany Schaller drove to the hoop but could not convert a layup.

Yancy grabbed the offensive rebound and drew a foul on the Lightning. She went to the line and converted two free throws to give the Tigers a 31-10 lead with 6:19 remaining in the quarter.

Following a Lake Country timeout, the Tigers went on to score five more points on a layup and jumper by Schaller, and a free throw by Near, before Cali Twet drove to the hoop and scored the Lightning’s first points of the half, at the 2:45 mark.

Edge, who finished the night with a team-high 18 points, responded with her fourth and final three-pointer for the night, and Taylor Buboltz had a lay-in after being left wide open under the hoop to conclude the Tigers’ scoring for the period and building the lead to 41-18 heading to final quarter.

“We don’t score 20 points in a quarter too often, so it was good to see and we shot 43 percent tonight. We usually only shoot about 30 percent,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff.

The Tigers’ full-court pressure resulted in four backcourt steals and a total of six turnovers in the third quarter.

“Our press isn’t designed to get turnovers, it is meant to slow down our opponent and give them problems getting into their offense. Tonight we were able to make an adjustment at halftime and get some turnovers, “said Georgeff.

With the aid of four missed free throws, four turnovers and 0-for-9 shooting for the Lightning, the Tigers took an 8-0 lead at the end of the first quarter .

The game was scoreless for the first 2:30 until Schaller was able to bank a shot in. Near converted 1-of-2 free throws and Schaller scored on a fast break to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead halfway through the quarter. Edge added her first three-pointer of the game to give the Tigers the eight point lead.

The Lightning scored 30 seconds into the second quarter on a basket by Kaelynn Lesniak. On Lutheran’s next trip, Kelsey Kleba cut the lead to 8-4 but the Tigers went on an 8-0 run to open a 12-point lead. A three-pointer and free throw cut the Tiger lead to eight, with four minutes to go in the period, but the Tigers outscored the Lightning 5-2 the rest of the way for a 21-10 half-time lead.


Score by Quarters
LakeCountry..............010 86–24
Howards Grove..........8 13 20 6 – 47

Lake Country Lutheran scoring: Maggie Howe 3, Cali Twet 4, Kelsey Kleba 5, Olivia Stoppenbach 1, Kaelynn Lesniak 7, Parker Ward 4; Threepoint goals: Howe 1.

Howards Grove scoring: Brittany Schaller 8, Morgan Edge 18, Sam Yancy 6, Kaitlynn Near 9, Olivia Stauss 4, Taylor Bubolz 2. Three-point goals: Edge 4.

Field goals: Lake Country 9-36, 25%; Howards Grove 17-40, 43%. Free throws: Lake Country 5-13, 38%; Howards Grove: 9-13, 69%.

Rebounds: Lake Country 17, Howards Grove 22. Turnovers: Lake Count_ ry 18, Howards Grove 15.

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