Tigers punch ticket to D-4 state tourney

Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


KAITLYNN NEAR of Howards Grove tries to score over Kenosha St. Joseph’s Coreyonna Watts in Saturday’s sectional basketball finals. Watching are the Lancers’ Niara Collins and the Tigers’ Kayla Bender (44). – Photo by Terry Schaller KAITLYNN NEAR of Howards Grove tries to score over Kenosha St. Joseph’s Coreyonna Watts in Saturday’s sectional basketball finals. Watching are the Lancers’ Niara Collins and the Tigers’ Kayla Bender (44). – Photo by Terry Schaller BROWN DEER – Senior forward Addi Gerber’s driving layup with 18 seconds left was the game-winner as the Howards Grove Tigers pulled out a 52-50 win over Kenosha St. Joseph here Saturday afternoon and earned a trip to the Division 4 girls state basketball tournament.

The state berth is the Tigers’ first since 2012. HG upped its record to 25-1 while the Lancers finished 18-8.

The Lancers called a timeout with 11 seconds left after Gerber’s basket. Niara Collins attempted a perimeter shot with two seconds left and it bounced off the rim as time expired, triggering a wild celebration by the Tigers.

“We’ve worked really hard and it feels really good to have our work pay off. Oh my gosh, there are no words to describe it [what I’m feeling],” said Tiger senior guard/forward Olivia Stauss.

“I’m super proud of the team. We want to keep it going.”

The Tigers’ defense, which has been outstanding all season, came up huge Saturday. HG’s full-court press and halfcourt trapping gave the Lancers fits. Kenosha had a whopping 28 turnovers, including 17 in the first half, against a defense which harassed the Lancers the entire game.

HG shot only 31 percent from the field, compared to the Lancers’ 55 percent, but Kenosha attempted just 38 shots to the Tigers’ 61. The difference in the outcome was at the freeby throw line where the Tigers outscored Kenosha 13-6.

The contest was close throughout. Gerber and senior forward Sam Yancy sparked the Tigers’ offense in crunch time – combining for the team’s final 14 points. Yancy scored eight straight points for the Tigers, including a three-point play off a rebound basket, which gave them a 46-43 lead with 5:18 left.


THE HOWARDS GROVE TIGERS and their fans go wild after the team edged Kenosha St. Joseph, 52-50, in Saturday’s sectional basketball finals. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE HOWARDS GROVE TIGERS and their fans go wild after the team edged Kenosha St. Joseph, 52-50, in Saturday’s sectional basketball finals. – Photo by Terry Schaller Gerber hit the final six points for the Tigers.

“I’m on cloud nine. It’s the greatest feeling ever. I’m really proud of all of my teammates for stepping up,” said Tiger senior point guard Brittany Schaller.

“We gave everything we had so this road [to a possible state title] won’t end,” said Yancy.

“It was a whole team contribution. They face-guarded Brittany and we showed we have more players who can take care of business just as well. We had players stepping up in times of need.”

Yancy led HG in scoring with 17 points, followed by Gerber with 12 and Stauss, 10. Yancy had a team-high 12 rebounds, including an impressive seven on offense.

HG had 14 steals, led by Ashley Reinemann with four. Stauss and Yancy had three each. Reinemann had a teamhigh five assists.

Senior standout forward Sidney Cooks led the Lancers’ attack with 23 points. The 6-foot-4 Cooks will be playing at Michigan State next season.

“I’m very proud of the team. We were very undersized but they [Lancers] don’t know the size of our hearts,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff. “It was a total team effort.

“Our full-court press made them work. I just wanted to slow the game down and make it a little more difficult for them to get the ball inside to Cooks.

“We wanted to not let Cooks take the game over and I think we certainly did that. Credit Sam for her defense inside for that but credit the whole team for extending the full-court press and for making it not easy for them to just walk the ball up and pound it inside to Cooks,” said Georgeff.

The state tournament will be held at the Resch Center in Green Bay. The Tigers will play Durand (23-3) in the state semifi nals Thursday at 6:35 p.m., followed by the other semifinal match-up between top-ranked La Crosse Aquinas (26-0) and Shiocton (18-8) at approximately 8:15 p.m. The championship game is set for Saturday at 12:45 p.m.


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