Nicolet girls basketball
The Knights battled, but needed just one more post player to compete with top-seeded Beaver Dam in a season-ending, 56-42, WIAA Division 2 regional final against host Beaver Dam on Saturday.
"We couldn't get to the foul line and we couldn't stop their posts," Knights coach Rick Dekeyser said. "They were just that big and that aggressive and we were just that soft. I think we gave up 15 offensive rebounds in the first half alone and they got something like 22 points out of them."
The Knights, who had advanced to the regional final with a 46-40 home regional semifinal win over West Bend East the night before, finished at 13-11 for the season while Beaver Dam moves on to sectional play Thursday.
Despite being beaten up underneath, it was still only 24-15 at the break. The Knights played a more competitive third quarter, notching a 17-17 tie with the Beavers, but could not really make a dent in the deficit.
Briana Gray had 22 points to finish her fine Nicolet career while Sara Travia and Michelle Peltz had six each. Gray hit two-of-three free throws, the only charity tosses on the evening for the Knights, while Beaver Dam was 12 of 22 from the line in comparison.
"They're a good team and clearly the better team tonight," Dekeyser said.
The game against East on Friday night went back and forth. It was tied at 33 going into the fourth quarter before the Knights outscored the Suns, 13-7, to come away with the win. Lanoira Duhart had 17 points to lead Nicolet while Travia had 11 and Gray 10.
"We ran into foul trouble in the first half," Dekeyser said, "… but in the fourth quarter, I just told the seniors that this was their last home game. Sara (Travia), hit some big shots down the stretch."
Brown Deer girls basketball
The Falcons played hard but came up short in a season-ending, 56-36, WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal loss to Racine St. Catherine's on Friday.
"We handled their pressure pretty well," coach Vinnie Murray said, "but we just didn't shoot the ball very well. I think it was something like 10 percent in the first half and 18 percent in the second. We had turned it over a lot this season (18 a game), but this game we only had six."
The Falcons had advanced to the game with a 101-22 regional quarterfinal win over Milwaukee North on Feb. 26. In that game, forward Jasalyn Lee had an all-star game total of 34 points and 22 rebounds, while Valerie Whiyee had 21 points and six assists, Allison Laurent 17, Imani Stingley 11 and Sabrina Wimmer, who was making her return from an injury, contributed eight.
Murray was able to get the bench extensive playing time in this game.
Against St. Catherine's, the Falcons fell behind 19-7 at the quarter and 34-13 at the half and could never recover, as Stingley had 15 and Lee nine.
"Once you get behind like that, it's hard to come back," Murray said. "The starters had to play a lot more than we wanted them to. We just needed to shoot it better from the start."
Whitefish Bay wrestling
"We're never going back to the way it was."
That was the battle cry of Blue Dukes coach Dale Loebel as Bay finished a fine season with a number of school records.
Bay concluded the campaign having advanced seniors Rashadeem Gray and Joey Davey to the state tournament. It was Gray's school-record third trip to the state event.
Gray wound up edging one-time Bay great Starr Moss on the all-time wins list, 113 to 112, while Gray finished with a season record of 128 takedowns and finished second in career takedowns with 272. He also has the season escapes' record, too.
His final overall record was 113-44, while Davey joined him in the 100-win club with a final mark of 106-57.
Junior Ben Lehrmann, who will be the leader of the team next season, set a record for most pins in the season with 24 and already owns the career pin record with 55 while also setting a record for most team points in a season with 164.
Bay, which, unfortunately, had to battle injuries all season, including a critical one to 2012 state qualifier Max Carlin, who had been off to a great start to his campaign before a shoulder problem limited him in the second half of the season.
Still, the Blue Dukes won the Nicolet Scramble, their first major invite title in many, many years and they also took third in the Marquette Tom Burns Invite while short-handed. Their 5-2 record in North Shore duals was the best they've ever done in the league.
Loebel was pleased that Carlin, Davey and Gray all earned top eight placements in the powerful Oshkosh-On-The-Water Invitational in December, with Carlin making the final.
Loebel couldn't say enough about his three leaders.
"You always assumed they were going to win, and when they didn't, you were surprised," he said. "They're some of the best wrestlers Bay has ever produced. What I have to do right now, is sit back and think about things for awhile, because I want these kids to be great. I always expect more out of them all the time."
That, coming from a man who brought the program up from ground zero several years ago to a level of competitiveness.
The Blue Dukes will lose Gray, Davey and Carlin, along with other senior starters George Dixon, Kelly Jackson and Will Shanley. They finished with about 22 overall wrestlers.
And the most encouraging thing in Loebel's eye was that the Monday following state, he held an optional practice, and an encouraging total of 13 athletes showed up.
"I wasn't ready to be done yet and neither were they," Loebel said. "We're not going back to the (bad) level of the past. Never!"
Shorewood girls basketball
The competitive season of the Greyhounds came to a frustrating end when they dropped a 57-50 triple overtime thriller to Bradley Tech in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal on Friday.
The defeat ended the Greyhounds' season at 12-11 while the Trojans went on to fall to sectional top-seed and Woodland Conference co-champ Pius XI in a regional final the next night.
The Tech game was close the whole way, as Shorewood was down one at the quarter, two at the half and then went up one at the end of three quarters.
The foul line played a huge role in this game, as Tech hit 22-of-38 free throws as compared to just 12 of 24 for the Greyhounds.
Jada Stackhouse led the Greyhounds with 16 while Grace Hayes had 13 and Ashley Eimers nine.
Homestead girls basketball
On a snowy Feb. 26 night, the Highlanders season came to a cold-shooting end, as they fell, 31-28, to visiting Hartford in a WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal game.
The Highlanders, who finished with an 8-15 record, led 14-13 at the half and 21-19 at the end of three periods, but were outscored 12-7 in the final session.
Marciarae Harmon had 12 points while Olivia Covill and Danielle Neilson had eight apiece for Homestead.
Hartford went on to lose to sectional top seed Sussex Hamilton.
Homestead managed just two-of-four frère throws while the Orioles downed seven of 11.
North Shore skiing
North Shore area schools were well-represented in the recently held Wisconsin State Ski championships.
The Homestead girls qualified as a team, as did University School and Nicolet (which is a combo of Nicolet, Dominican and Shorewood). One Whitefish Bay boy qualified also.
Nicolet's John Jaekels took second in the slalom, earning all-state and earning an invitational to the Eastern States Championship at Franconia Notch, N. H. Meanwhile, the Knights' Megan McMahon earned alternate honors for the all-state team.
Jaekels' effort helped the Knights boys take seventh of 23 teams.
Other finishes for Nicolet included, Joe Tarnowski, 23rd overall, Brody Wallace was 27th, Charlie Rosmann 32nd, Charlie Dickson 73rd, Jaekels 88th in the Super G, Nathan Franz 119th out of 160 skiers. Rossmann and Dickson are both freshmen.
The Knights girls had a little more of a challenge, one of their stars, Stephanie Larson, had a terrific crash in the first event and was hurt. She was hauled of the hill and her dad, Scott Larson, took her to the hospital, where X-rays determined that she broken her arm. More amazingly, she returned to the hill, arm immobilized, and continued to cheer on her teammates.
Katie Braun was called up to fill in and did a great job.
McMahon was 17th in the slalom, and 27th in super G but had to hike in the GS. Overall McMahon was 46th. Ginny Groh was 54th, Callie Dickson 72nd, Ellie Mittelstadt 82nd and Kristen Maling 86th
Whitefish Bay boys basketball
It was a season of near-misses for the Blue Dukes, who still finished the season with a successful 17-7 mark.
"I thought we'd play well and play hard and we did that for the most part," Blue Dukes coach Kevin Lazovik said. "We had a tough start to our schedule but we rebounded from that. We had some tough losses but we were playing pretty well by the end of the year."
Bay's season ended with a tough, 63-62, WIAA Division 2 regional loss to City Conference co-champion Milwaukee Washington. The challenging schedule included a loss to another City co-champ King, which has qualified for the state D1 state tournament; a defeat to area rival Dominican, which is trying to defend its D4 state championship this weekend and a victory over top-ranked in D3 Little Chute, which will also make a trip back to state.
The slate also included two tough losses to defending state D1 champ and North Shore titan Germantown, which is also defending its crown this weekend.
"We passed the ball better, we defended better, I just think overall, we had a good group of guys, who were easy to coach and got better as the season went along," Lazovik said. "They really came together well."
Bay did finish in a tie for second in the North Shore with Homestead at 10-4.
Seniors include starting guard Kelin Johnson, the last star off the state championship group of two years ago, Grant Menard, Peter Sandvick, Bryan Jordan, Johnny Markwiese and Darrein Walker.
"Kelin was so very valuable to us," Lazovik said. "He was someone who was talented, who came to practice and give 100 percent every day. He's just a kid who wants to get better every time out."
Junior forward Joe Sherburne also had a splendid season, Lazovik said.
Nicolet boys basketball
It would have been nice to have had a stronger finish, but Paul Hepp will take a 14-9 final record after an 0-4 start any season.
"Overall, I was very proud of the overall effort," he said. "After that start, we had two six-game winning streaks and that was with facing a fair share of adversity."
The Knights concluded their year with a regional semifinal loss to surprising North Shore rival Grafton, which wound up making it all the way to the state D2 sectional final.
"It was a little disappointing, you want to play as long as you can," Hepp said, "but the team was so much better than last year."
One thing Hepp was very encouraging about this season was that the Knights more than doubled their number of conference wins from four to nine. He was greatly heartened by the courage of star forward TylerMiller, who battled a foot problem all season and still wound up as one of the team's leading scorers.
He led the team in rebounding, blocked shots and two point field goal percentage (61 percent). Further, aside from Dominican guard Duane Wilson, he had arguably the best game anyone had this season against 26-0 defending state champion Germantown, recording 25 points and 15 rebounds.
In that game, the Knights came within seven points of the Warhawks, their second-closest outcome all season.
"You tell the kids that the true test of character is how they respond when things aren't going well," Hepp said. "We were able to turn things around (mentally) and that allowed us to be good this year."
Seniors included Miller, Jimmie Scales, Nolan Wagner, Eugene Bonner, Randy Grzybowski, Treland Jenkins and Nasir Childs.
- Steven L. Tietz
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