Defense propels Tigers to regional championship

Matt Kraus Review Co respondent


THE HOWARDS GROVE Tigers celebrate after defeating Markesan in the regional basketball championship game Saturday night. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE HOWARDS GROVE Tigers celebrate after defeating Markesan in the regional basketball championship game Saturday night. – Photo by Terry Schaller HOWARDS GROVE – Saturday night’s girls basketball Division 4 regional finals between the No. 2-seeded Howards Grove Tigers and the No. 3-seeded Markesan Hornets looked to be a defensive battle.

The Tigers full-court pressure defense caused teams problems all year. The Hornets’ zone packed the inside this season, making it difficult for teams to score in the lane which is a strength and goal of the Tigers. HGHS held the Hornets to only 23-percent shooting from the field en route to a 38-17 rout.

The Tigers improved to 21-3 and advanced to a second consecutive sectional semifinal. HGHS will face No. 1-seeded Oshkosh Lourdes Academy Thursday in West Bend at 7 p.m.

Lourdes Academy is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press D-4 poll with a record of 22-2 and are champions of the Trailways North Conference with a 16-0 record.

Markesan’s season ended with a 19-5 overall record after finishing second in the Trailways North Conference (14-2). The two conference losses came against Lourdes Academy.

The Tigers struck first and quickly as Sam Yancy grabbed an offensive rebound and converted for a 2-0 lead. Next, the Tigers’ defensive trap caused a Hornets’ turnover and Addi Gerber responded with a three-point basket.

The following Tigers’ possession saw Yancy receive a pass on a cut to the hoop and score to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead a minute into the game.

Gerber hit another three to open a 10-2 lead.

The Hornets cut the lead to 10-6 before Olivia Stauss picked up a steal and basket on a fast break. Gerber later drove to the hoop for a score and 14-6 Howards Grove lead with nine minutes remaining in the first half.

The balance of the half, each team only scored two points, with the final score coming with 2:43 remaining on a Brittany Schaller cut to the hoop and layin to give the Tigers a 16-8 halftime lead.

Markesan opened the secondhalf scoring with a basket at the 16:17 mark but defense was the name of the game for both teams as neither team scored again until a Kaitlynn Near basket for HGHS with 13:30 to go.

Yancy picked up her fourth personal foul and was sent to the bench with 13 minutes remaining. Instead of faltering without her inside presence, the Tigers slowly pulled away from the Hornets and opened a 10-point lead on a Stauss layup for a 24- 14 lead.

As time wound under eight minutes to play, Gerber scored from the lane and added a 10- foot bank shot a minute later. Schaller followed with a 15-foot jumper and a layup to give the Tigers a 32-15 advantage.

The Hornets responded to Schaller’s lay-up with an Ashley Risse basket off of an offensive rebound. With 4:35 remaining, the basket would be Markesan’s final score of the game, but down the stretch, Schaller, Stauss and Yancy each made two free throws for the Tigers, to secure the Tigers’ 38-17 victory.

“We switched to a 2-3 zone after Sam’s fourth foul. Addi (Gerber) was a little better inside against them because she is bigger and more physical than Sam.” said Georeff.

Gerber led the Tigers with 12 points. Yancy grabbed nine rebounds and Reinemann dished out 5 assists. Schaller and Kaitlynn Near had four steals each.

“The win tonight was very important to us. Going to Sectionals was one of our goals.”

“We are a team. No one person is more important than another. Without everyone contributing their part we wouldn’t be who we are,” said Schaller.

“We made some outside shots early and that helped us. They defend the interior and it was physical. Their size was a little bit of a problem for Sam,” said Georgeff.

With the win, the Tigers improved to 21-3 and advanced to a second consecutive sectional semi-final, to face #1- seeded Lourdes Academy (Oshkosh) in West Bend at 7:00 pm on Thursday.

Lourdes Academy is ranked #4 in D-4 with a record of 22-2, and are champions of the Trailways North Conference with a 16-0 record.

Markesan’s season ended with a 19-5 overall record after finishing second in the Trailways North Conference (14-2). The two conference came against Lourdes Academy.


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