'Darn we were shut': Aquinas' dream season ends in nightmare fashion – La Crosse Tribune

GREEN BAY — Issues were falling aside on the Aquinas Excessive College ladies basketball crew.

Its lead in the ultimate minutes had been chipped away and the Blugolds discovered themselves down by three factors with 10 seconds to go. The perfect they might hope for is to drive extra time in Saturday’s WIAA Division four state championship recreation on the Resch Middle.

After scrambling to interrupt the Howards Grove press on the ultimate possession, the Blugolds discovered junior ahead Kyah Steiner on the left wing and she or he rose as much as shoot. She fired and the ball ripped via the online as the ultimate buzzer sounded … however her proper foot was throughout the three-level line.

The consequence was a protracted 2-pointer, and Howards Grove escaped with a surprising 44-43 win.

Steiner’s shot was one of many lone vivid spots for the Blugolds in the ultimate minutes, as they noticed their eight-level benefit with 4 minutes left be eaten away by Tigers (27-) free throws and uncharacteristically sloppy turnovers on their half.

Howards Grove had reduce Aquinas’ (27-) lead down to 3 with 5:41 to go in the second half when Blugolds coach Dave Donarski known as a timeout. Freshman Kayla Bahr made a Three-pointer on the following possession after which freshman Lexi Donarski hit a protracted jumper to push the lead again to eight factors.

“When we known as that timeout then went on that run, I felt like we’d lastly taken management of the sport,” Dave Donarski mentioned. “However hats off to (Howards Grove), they stored grinding. In truth, they beat us the way in which we thought they'd. They acquired us on the finish with that type of recreation.”

Howards Grove ended the sport on a 12-Three run.

“We didn’t care for the ball like we wanted to,” Aquinas junior Madessa Collins mentioned. “We rushed when we may’ve slowed down some issues. The sport was decided by the final couple of minutes, which type of sucks for us.”

The Tigers spent a lot of the first half switching between man and zone defenses, and the tempo was in their favor. Aquinas triggered some turnovers that resulted in six quick-break factors, which was the distinction in the Blugolds holding a 22-17 lead after the opening 18 minutes.

However Aquinas’ offense wasn’t as environment friendly in half-courtroom because it was in its semifinal recreation Thursday — a mix of Howards Grove not permitting the Blugolds to safe offensive rebounds and fast whistles from the officiating crew piled up the fouls on each side.

After tallying 15 offensive rebounds and 9 second-likelihood factors towards Shiocton in the semifinals, Aquinas recorded seven offensive rebounds and 4 second-likelihood factors on Saturday. Howards Grove managed rebounding in common, securing 37 to the Blugolds’ 27.

“As I watch this movie once more, which can be tough, we acquired to the rim with good photographs throughout that late stretch that simply didn’t go down,” Dave Donarski mentioned.

Aquinas’ strain protection — its calling card all season — wasn’t in a position to generate the transition recreation a lot in the second half Saturday. It didn’t assist that a lot of the Blugolds’ key perimeter defenders, like Lexi Donarksi and Jessa Peterson, had been known as for shut-name fouls and needed to pull again on the reins a bit.

“I’m not saying they weren’t fouls, however we may’ve been higher in our rotations on protection and gotten in (passing) lanes with out having to make it a questionable name for the refs or something like that,” mentioned Lexi Donarski, who completed with a recreation-excessive 23 factors, 4 steals and 4 assists.

Steiner tallied six factors, eight rebounds, and 4 assists, whereas Collins added 5 factors, eight rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists.

Howards Grove senior Olivia Stauss — who transformed a 3-level play that gave the Tigers their first lead of the sport with 49 seconds left — led the offense with 16 factors, 11 of which got here from the free-throw line. Main scorer (12 ppg) and senior ahead Samantha Yancy was held to eight factors and 11 rebounds, as she was shadowed by Collins for a lot of the contest.

“We received 27 video games this yr, we had an incredible season. In truth, as a lot as I needed to win this one, if one recreation defines your entire season then that’s not likely honest,” Dave Donarski mentioned. “Sadly we couldn’t end what we got down to do, however darn, we were actually shut.”

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'Darn we were shut': Aquinas' dream season ends in nightmare fashion - La Crosse Tribune