Waunakee edges Germantown girls in battle of uptempo styles, 78-76

Dec. 26, 2013

This is what happens when two magnets of the same polarity bang against against one another again and again.

In a battle of Grinnell-style "press, run and shoot" programs, the Waunakee girls basketball team used a 19-0 third quarter run to erase an nine-point deficit and hold on to edge Germantown, 78-76, in a quarterfinal game of the Rathke Memorial Tournament at Franklin Thursday afternoon.

The intetresting thing about the match-up was, was that Warhawk coach Matt Stuve not only knew about it months in advance (the pairings are released early), but also got to meet up and chat with Warriors coach Brad Lussier in a most unusual fashion.

"We (his family) were in Cancun (Mesico) waiting for a plane and I saw a guy in a Waunakee shirt and it turned out to be Brad," said Stuve. "We knew we were already matched up so we had a chance to talk a bit about things."

Like how many 3-pointers each team would hit and how many turnovers each team would have.

Both numbers were large. Germantown (6-2) wound up sinking six 3-pointers, but none in the second half, while Waunakee (5-1) had four including a couple of key second session hits.

Germantown would hit five of its first six shots in taking a 7-0 lead. Aside from one tie early in the period, the Warhawks would hold that advantage all through the half. It was 25-20 at the quarter, and a 10-0 run midway through the second period pushed the lead to 40-27.

It was 43-30 with 1:59 left in the half and that's when things began to deterioriate for the Warhawks. As noted, both teams were comfortable pressing and turning the other over (Germantown would have 36 miscues on the night, the Warriors 34) but the longer and more physical Warriors began to wear the Warhawks down.

The gap was closed to 45-38 at the half thanks in part ot a 3-pointer from Waunakee guard Lexi DesRochers (19 points).

The die was cast early in the second half, when the Warhawks commited tunrovers on their first four possessions.

Warhawk post Bridget Kelley (game-high 20 points) put in back-in-back baskets, the second at the 4:59 mark of the third quarter to make it 53-44 Germantown.

It was all downhill from there as the Warriors found their stride, forcing tunrovers (a total of 12 Germantown miscues in the period) and began to find their range (11 of 22 from the field for the period).

The 19-0 run included a putback by sophomore forward Jada Dayne that gave Waunakee the lead for good at 54-53 with 2:31 left in the session. Dayne is the daughter of former Wisconsin Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ron Dayne. She finished with 14 points and wore the Warhawks out with relentless pressure all over the floor, especially on the Germantown point guards.

"Paige (point guard Groth) now knows what it must have been like for linebackers when Ron Dayne ran into them," laughed Stuve ruefully. "She (Groth) is one big bruise."

Only when Kelley hit a lay-up with just one second left in the quarter did the run end, but by then the Warriors had a 63-55 lead.

"We got a little stagnant and stopped moving our feet and that's when our shots started to disappear," said Stuve. "Our MO (modus operandi) is to wear teams out by the third quarter, but we were the ones who looked flat instead."

The Warhawks fought back in the fourth. They got it to 66-63 on a key hoop by Kelley with 6:40 remaining in the game but then went more than two minutes without a point as the Warriors edged the advantage back up to 70-63 with 4:44 left.

But again Germantown worked its way back as two Courtney Wahl free throws cut the deficit to 70-67 with 2:44 left. The Warriors helped the Warhawks out with absolutely dismal foul shooting (16 of 37).

Germantown had a chance to tie a possession later, but an open baseline 3 was just off the mark. A few moments later, Dayne was back at it, powering her way to an old-fashioned three-point play on a drive and foul that made it 74-67 with 1:55 to go.

The deficit reached 77-69 with 38 seconds to go, but the game remained intreresting. The Warhawks' Amy Flasch was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws with 28 seconds left and with 19 seconds to go, Taylor Higginbotham got an easy basket off a turnover with make it 77-74.

Waunakee's Katie Keenan hit one of two free throws with 17 seconds left to boost the deficit to four points at 78-74, but after that it took awhile for Germantown to get another clean look. Flasch (nine points) finally hit another shot with five seconds to go to make it 78-76.

After a pair of timeouts, the ball was knocked around on the subsequent inbounds and Germantown never got off another shot.

Higginbotham added 13 points and Erika Berry 12 for the Warhawks, while Maddie Shaw also broke into double figures for the Warriors with 11.

"We actually had a ton of good looks," said Stuve, "but they didn't go down and we pride ourselves on good shot preparation. There was a reason we got into this tournament though. We wanted to get good games and the losers' bracket here is so much easier than the winners' bracket."

Stuve was laughing when he said that because the Warhawks will get the traditional state power host school Franklin at 1:45 p.m. Friday in a consolation semifinal. Franklin lost to DSHA, 47-35, in its quarterfinal. DSHA will take on Waunakee in a championship semifinal at 5:15 p.m. Friday.


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