Tigers cruise to regional semifinal victory

Matt Kraus
Review Co respondent

HOWARDS GROVE – Defense and an interior presence were the driving forces for the Howards Grove girls basketball team as the No. 2-seeded Tigers routed Horicon, 60-25, here Friday night in Division 4 regional semifinal action.

The Tigers improved to 22-1 on the strength of senior forward Sam Yancy’s game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds. HG has won 21 straight games. The No. 7-seeded Marshmen finished 15-9.

Yancy showed the way early, scoring the game’s first basket on the Tigers’ opening offensive possession. She grabbed an offensive rebound on the next possession that led to a three-pointer by Olivia Stauss. Yancy continued her dominance with a steal on Hori- con’s following possession.

“I am happy for Sam. Most teams double- and triple-team her. Tonight, they tried to defend her with a single player and she was able to break out,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff.

Senior forward Taylor Bubolz added quality minutes and gave the Tigers an additional option to rest Yancy, Stauss and Addi Gerber, while providing an interior scoring threat. Bubolz scored six of her seven points from the lane, and added an offensive rebound, steal and blocked shot to the Tigers’ victory.

“Taylor didn’t play last year but she has continued to improve all season to catch up with the missed season,” said Georeff.

Defensively, the Tigers’ Ashley Reinemann grabbed a rebound on Horicon’s opening possession. The Tigers’ pressure defense picked up steals on the next four Horicon possessions as the Tigers’ offense opened a 7-0 lead.

“We use our press to slow people down and get them out of their offense. As always, our defense helps our offense,” said Georgeff.

Leading 11-4, Brittany Schaller hit a three-pointer and Bubolz converted a reverse layup on a pass from Caitlin Schmid to give the Tigers a 16-4 lead.

Horicon’s Riley Hazelberg hit two free throws but the Tigers responded with a 10-0 run to open a 26-6 lead with 5:16 remaining in the first half.

An offensive rebound and basket by Maddie LaBouton briefly slowed the Tigers’ assault but Yancy grabbed an offensive rebound and converted on a three-point play. Bubolz later scored from the low post before the LaBouton hit two free throws for Horicon.

Kaitlyn Near closed out firsthalf scoring after grabbing a long offensive rebound and driving to the hoop to give the Tigers a 33-10 halftime lead.

The second half saw the Tigers end their full-court pressure and get younger players on the playoff roster into the game – all while outscoring the Marshmen 27-15 in the half en route to the victory.

The Tigers picked up 14 steals as team with Stauss and Near leading the way with four each. Four Tigers blocked shots, led by Yancy’s two.

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