Tigers rally to earn state semifinal win

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


SAM YANCY, Howards Grove senior, tries to score against Durand’s Brianna Hass in Thursday’s state basketball semifinals. Durand’s Emma Hansen watches. – Photo by Terry Schaller SAM YANCY, Howards Grove senior, tries to score against Durand’s Brianna Hass in Thursday’s state basketball semifinals. Durand’s Emma Hansen watches. – Photo by Terry Schaller GREEN BAY – The Howards Grove Tigers made huge plays in crunch time to earn a hard-fought 44-37 win over Durand in the Division 4 semifinals at the girls state basketball tournament at the Resch Center Thursday night.

The Tigers outscored the Panthers 10-0 in the final 2:09 after trailing 37-34. Addi Gerber sank a short jumper which started the run.

After Durand’s Emma Hansen missed both ends of a double-bonus at the foul line, Olivia Stauss stepped up bigtime for the Tigers. Stauss hit a runner in the lane and was fouled with 40 seconds left. She missed the free throw but grabbed the rebound and scored a layup to complete a four-point possession and give HG a 40-37 lead with 33 seconds remaining.


THE HOWARDS GROVE band, cheerleaders and student section cheer on the Tigers at Thursday’s state basketball semifinals versus Durand. – Photo by Terry Schaller THE HOWARDS GROVE band, cheerleaders and student section cheer on the Tigers at Thursday’s state basketball semifinals versus Durand. – Photo by Terry Schaller “After the timeout [following Hansen’s missed foul shots] we just really focused in. I saw an opening, so I just went. I made it,” said Stauss about her basket which gave HG a 38-37 lead.

After Stauss put the Tigers up 40-37 Ambree Schlosser missed a three-point shot for Durand and the ball went of bounds to HG with 22 seconds left.

Kaitlynn Near was fouled with 18.4 seconds left. She missed the front end of a oneand one but rebounded the ball and laid it in to push the Tigers’ lead to 42-37 with 14 seconds left. Durand failed to attempt a shot on its next possession. Brittany Schaller hit a layup with three seconds left off a steal by Near to cap off the Tigers’ surge.


OLIVIA STAUSS, Howards Grove senior, brings the ball up the court in Thursday’s state basketball semifinals against Durand. – Photo by Terry Schaller OLIVIA STAUSS, Howards Grove senior, brings the ball up the court in Thursday’s state basketball semifinals against Durand. – Photo by Terry Schaller The Tigers, ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press D-4 poll, improved to 26-1 and ran their winning streak to 25. Durand finished 23-4.

Shae Baier’s second of two straight three-pointers gave the Panthers a 33-27 lead with 8:25 remaining. The six-point lead was the largest of the game for Durand. The Tigers’ man-to-man defense dug in and allowed zero field goals the rest of the way.

A 7-3 run by the Tigers brought them to within 36-34 at the 3:09 mark. Stauss scored on a drive, Gerber hit a followup, Sam Yancy made a free throw and Schaller sank two foul shots for the Tigers’ scoring during the rally.

“The key [to the late rally] was that we just didn’t get rattled. They hit two big threes [by Baier] against our zone, so we switched to man. We knew we had to make stops, and we made baskets,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff.

“We really pushed at the end. We have big hearts and we never want to stop,” said Stauss, a senior guard.

“We knew we had to stay headstrong. We left it all out on the court,” said Yancy, a senior forward.

The Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead with 14:40 left in the first half. Durand, keyed by its fast break which produced three baskets, rallied to forge a 13-13 tie with 8:08 left until halftime.

HG responded with a 5-0 run to go up 18-13 at the 4:45 mark in the opening half. Stauss made an off-balanced shot in the lane, Schaller buried an outside shot and Kayla Bender sank a free throw.

Schlosser scored the Panthers’ final seven points of the first half as Durand closed to within 21-20 at intermission. She hit two free throws, a triple and a layup off her steal.

Senior forward Sam Yancy, the Tigers’ top scorer this season, picked up two fouls in the first 3:40 of the contest and had to sit down for all but five minutes of the first half. The Panthers’ 1-3-1 zone did a good job of limiting Yancy’s touches inside. Yancy was held to only three points but her teammates picked her up nicely.

“Hats off to Durand. They had a great game plan. They packed their zone in [to stop Yancy]. They attacked our zone well” said Georgeff.

“It was a back-and-forth game. We got stops when we needed to. That’s when I knew we were going to win because if it comes down to defense, we’re going to do it.”

Both teams played very good defense throughout the game – allowing few uncontested shots. The Tigers led Durand in overall field-goal shooting, 46-30 percent.

Gerber led a balanced HG attack with 13 points. She hit an excellent 64 percent (7 of 11) from the field. Schaller and Stauss added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Stauss had a team-high six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Gerber grabbed five boards. Ashley Reinemann contributed two assists. Yancy led in blocked shots with two.

Georgeff emphasized that her team is balanced and has many contributors.

“At the end of the game I put Kaitlynn Near in. Kaitlynn is more of a defender and a quicker defender in there, and for someone who wasn’t scoring, for her to come in there and get that steal [at the end] and go to the basket [and score which gave HG a 42-37 lead] like that is an example of how we have so many contributors” she said.

“It’s not just the points. It’s the other things they can do. Ashley Reinemann doesn’t get any credit for scoring – that’s not her game. For her to guard 10 [Schlosser] and keep her to 11 points, that’s huge. That’s the major leader for their team.

“The balance, that’s what we’re all about,” said Georgeff.

Schlosser, who was the Panthers’ leading scorer this season at 15.7 per game coming in, paced Durand in scoring and also had a team-high three assists. Hannah Prissel had a team-high eight boards. Hansen led in steals with two.

“It was a hard-fought game. You had two teams out there who were battling,” said Panther head coach Lionel Jones.

“Our game plan coming in was to win the war in the paint, take away their drives and limit Sam Yancy as much as possible. Our match-up zone did a great job of limiting her points. We didn’t give them easy driving lanes to the basket.

“Toward the end of the game they made more plays than we did,” said Jones.


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