Tigers face high-powered Lourdes in sectional

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


BRITTANY SCHALLER, Howards Grove guard, crashes into Markesan’s Madelyn Kohn on a drive to the hoop in Saturday’s regional basketball finals at HGHS. The Tigers routed Markesan, 38-17, to earn a sectional berth. – Photo by Terry Schaller BRITTANY SCHALLER, Howards Grove guard, crashes into Markesan’s Madelyn Kohn on a drive to the hoop in Saturday’s regional basketball finals at HGHS. The Tigers routed Markesan, 38-17, to earn a sectional berth. – Photo by Terry Schaller HOWARDS GROVE — The Howards Grove Tigers’ stingy defense will face probably its biggest challenge of the girls basketball season when it faces Oshkosh Lourdes Academy in the Division 4 sectional semifinals Thursday, March 3 at West Bend.

Tip-off for the clash is 7 p.m. The Knights are ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press D-4 poll with a 22-2 record and HGHS is tied for No. 8 in the poll with a 21-3 mark. Lourdes and HGHS are seeded first and second, respectively.

“They are an outstanding offensive team that averages 72 points per game. They have several players that can both shoot the three with high a percentage and attack the basket,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Geogeff.

The Knights’ top scorer is junior wing/guard Katie Van Scyoc who averages an impressive 21.0 points per game. Van Scyoc, 6-feet-1, also leads the team in three-point goals with 39 and rebounding at 5.5 per contest.

Georgeff thinks her team matches up well with Lourdes.

“Overall, player to player, I think we have a lot of similarities. We both like to run the floor, we both have strong scoring leaders and multiple scoring threats,” she pointed out.

“We’ve both beaten all of our common opponents. They score more points than we do but we hold teams to less points on the defensive end.”

Both teams have balanced offenses. Lourdes has four players who average double figures in scoring. HGHS features five players with scoring averages of seven or more, led by 6-0 junior forward Sam Yancy at 14.3 and junior guard Brittany Schaller, 13.0.

Yancy has a team-high 32 blocked shots and is first in steals with a 2.8 average. Schaller leads in assists at 4.1 per game.

Georgeff pointed out the biggest challenges her team will face against Lourdes.

“They have multiple three-point scoring threats and a 6-1 guard [Van Scyoc] that averages 21. They run a few different trapping defenses and that presents a challenge in handling the pressure but also an opportunity for us to score high-percentage baskets off our press-breaker and set plays,” the coach said.

Georgeff mentioned the keys for the Tigers to win:

“Perform at the highest defensive level, win the rebounds, shoot 50 percent from the field and take care of the basketball.”

The Tigers are a confident team heading into the game.

“We will prepare to the best of our ability but ultimately it comes down to who shows up and plays the most complete game on both sides of the ball,” said Georgeff.

“It’s our season goal to get better with every game and I think we’ve been doing that all season. I can’t say that we’ve really played a bad basketball game since December. We are confident in who we are and we feel like we can beat anyone.”

She said noted the main keys to the team’s success this season.

Number 1 is playing together. – being a true team who believes in each other. Number 2 is the defensive mindset that if we do the little things we can control the game,” said the coach.

The Tigers have four starters [Yancy, Schaller, Olivia Stauss and Kaitlynn Near] back from last year’s squad which lost in the sectional semifinals to eventual state qualifier Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs. Georgeff thinks last year’s sectional experience will be beneficial.

“I think the experience of playing on the big stage will help them but we try to take the emphasis off of the big stage and put all our mental preparation into the things we need to do to win,” she said.

“We were here last year with a team mostly consisting of sophomores and now that we are a year older, getting here isn’t the goal – winning here is.

“We approach the sectionals the same way we do every other game – do the little things and focus on the game plan. They know if we lose, we go home and that is a strong motivator,” said the coach.

The winner of the HGHSLourdes game advances to the finals Saturday against the Kenosha St. Joseph Shoreland Lutheran victor. The finals will be at Brown Deer with a 4 p.m. start.


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