Sports Shorts: March 4

March 5, 2013

Menomonee Falls/Germantown gymnastics

Coach Tracy Howard talked to a lot of people, she coached up athletes Aerial Holt and Lizzy Gilbert and then she talked to more people.

In short, she tried to soak it all in at her 24th and last WIAA State Meet in Wisconsin Rapids last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids.

"It was awesome," she said. "Our girls did great in a tough field and everybody kept talking to me. It was also nice that we kept to tradition. The entire varsity came up with us to support the girls. It was business as usual, but I have to admit, I tried to slow it down as much as I could. I took it all in and had a great time."

Howard, who is retiring (see separate article), watched as her two seniors competed well in a deep state field. Holt competed in the all-around and came in 20th of 26 with a 34.633 score. She was also 17th on vault with a 9.1 and was 21st in floor exercise with an 8.75.

Gilbert was 24th on balance beam with an 8.367 effort.

"I thought they hit their routines and got the scores they deserved," Howard said.

Menomonee Falls girls basketball

The start of the game was just about perfect for the Menomonee Falls girls basketball team Friday night. But the finish wasn't the way the Indians wanted the 2012-13 season to end.

Playing a WIAA Division 1 regional first-round game against host Arrowhead, the Falls jumped out to a 6-point lead after the first period (15-9) and a 5-point lead (22-17) with just two minutes remaining in the opening half but couldn't keep that momentum going as they allowed the Warhawks to rally in the second half to post a 57-50 victory.

The loss ended the Falls season with a 13-10 record. The Indians had won three straight games going into Friday's regional.

"It's always rough to talk at the end of the last game of the season," Falls coach Craig Amundson said. "That's kind of what it is right now. I'm so sad for the kids, these are always hard things to deal with. I just talked to the kids and we all knew we left everything we had on the court. We were pretty satisfied with the shots we took, but they just didn't fall late in the game. I really care about these kids. This was our last time together so it's tough."

The final seven-point margin wasn't indicative of how close the game really was. It was tied at 22 at the intermission and the Indians trailed 39-38 at the end of the third period. The game was tied at 43 with 4:51 remaining and then Falls trailed 49-47 after two free throws by Haley Precia with 2:20 still to play.

From there Falls couldn't buy a basket, missing five shots in a row before senior Mikayla Robertson scored on an offensive rebound with 13.3 seconds to play.

Arrowhead (16-8) outscored the Indians by an 8-1 margin before Robertson's putback.

Falls made just 4-of-19 shots in the fourth quarter. For the night, they shot 35 percent from the floor, converting 21-of-60 shots. Arrowhead shot 40 percent for the game, making 19-of-47 shots.

Robertson was strong all night for the Indians, finishing with 19 points. Senior Erin Crownover chipped in with 14 tallies and senior Amber Bullock had 10 points.

"Our message to the girls was to play like we were down eight or nine points all night," Amundson said. "We battled back to tie the score in the fourth quarter. We have two 3-year kids this year and three four-year kids. This is the most kids in terms of coming back that we've ever had. So it's tough right now to know that a lot of them won't be back." (Courtesy of Chuck Delsman, Lake Country Newspapers).

Germantown girls basketball

Waukesha West used fast starts in both halves and a critical push in the fourth quarter to pull away from the hard-charging and fast-paced Germantown squad, 73-54, in a WIAA regional final Saturday in Waukesha.

The Warhawks saw their seven-game winning streak and fine season come to an end at 18-6. Coach Matt Stuve was clearly dismayed as the Warhawks could not hit the proverbial broad side of the barn, either from the field (14 of 75 for 19 percent) or from the line (21 of 38 including a critical 11 of 22 in the first half).

"We were definitely out of character to start the way we did in both halves," he said. "It seemed that we were a little tentative on both ends of the floor and that's not the way we normally like to play.

"We tried to fight back, but when the easy things - layups and free throws - don't go in, it increases the pressure on other aspects of your game and makes it that much harder to come back."

West, which won its first-ever regional title with the win, advanced to a sectional semifinal Thursday against Classic 8 rival Arrowhead.

The Warhawks, bothered by West's length advantage (6-4, 5-11, 5-11 in the starting lineup), couldn't buy a basket in the first quarter, and West never trailed. It was 9-1 before Courtney Mehring hit a 3-pointer for the only basket of the period. Germantown would hit only one-of-14 shots in the first period as it fell behind 19-9.

The Warhawks battled back in the second quarter, going inside hard and drawing a large number of fouls, but they did not help themselves by hitting only five-of-14 charity tosses in the period, including two separate players missing back-to-back free throws.

Still, they were able to force 12 turnovers out of West in the session, and when Mehring hit another three with 54 seconds left, it was tied at 28.

Freshman guard Dani Rhodes hit one-of-two free throws with 39 seconds left in the half to give the Wolverines a 29-28 advantage going into the break.

West would never trail again.

The Wolverines were able to put the Warhawks in a hole again at the start of the third, with a three-point play just 12 seconds in. A 3-pointer and another free throw quickly followed and the Warhawks again found themselves down eight, then 12.

But Taylor Higginbotham hit a three from the wing and notched a layup after a steal to close the gap to 48-43 going into the fourth.

When the Warhawks' Maggie Johnston hit a drive with 7:08 left in the game, it was 49-45 West, but just like that, the youthful Wolverines (two freshmen and sophomores in the starting lineup) found their backbone.

They outscored Germantown 12-2 over the next four minutes to push the advantage to an insurmountable 61-47 with 3:43 remaining.

Higginbotham led Germantown with 13 points while Mehring and Bridget Kelley had 11 apiece.

"The thing is, we didn't do a lot of the little things well," Stuve said, "and when you have two 18-5 teams playing, it's the team that will do the little things better that will prevail. West did that."

The Wolverines were led by senior forward Lizzy Connors who had 26 points.

- Steven L. Tietz

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