Any chance the Waupaca Comet girls’ basketball team had of winning a regional championship turned out to be not much of a chance after all.
New London ended the Comets’ season by handing Waupaca a 63-38 defeat Saturday, March 12, in a Division 2 regional final in Hortonville.
Waupaca had advanced to the game by beating Antigo 51-47 the previous night and finished the season with an 11-13 record.
New London 63, Waupaca 38
HORTONVILLE – Tara Knapstein and Bridget Pethke combined to score more than half of the Bulldogs’ points, as they led all scorers with 20 and 14 points, respectively.
New London led 20-9 after one quarter, 34-23 at halftime and 53-30 after three quarters.
Kristen Fuss and Katie Barlow led Waupaca with 12 points each. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Comets 34-18 while holding Waupaca to one offensive board.
New London (21-3) will face Medford at 7 tonight (Thursday) in a sectional semifinal at Waupaca High School. The winner will play Rice Lake or Sparta at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19, in Marshfield.
Waupaca 51, Antigo 47
ANTIGO – Free throws down the stretch helped the third-seeded Comets knock off the second-seeded Red Robins.
It didn’t look good for Waupaca early, as Kim Lindner and Amanda Kessler scored all 14 of Antigo’s points in the first quarter and the Red Robins took a five-point lead into the second period.
Waupaca trailed 20-16 at halftime.
“Antigo is a tough team and they were the better team at the start,” coach Brandon Temperly said. “Our girls continued to hang in there and we clawed our way back. We did that through hard play and we started to execute.
“I could tell there were a lot of nerves out there at the start,” he added. “Some girls were making plays mentally that they haven’t made all year long. We settled the girls down and got back into the flow of the game. We were looking for one spark to get us going. Lexie (Marringa) made a play in the passing lane and that started us inching our way back.”
A 10-2 run for the Comets in third quarter turned a 26-23 deficit into a 33-28 lead. The Comets took their first lead of the game on a Kristen Fuss basket with 2:55 remaining in the period and led 33-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
A 7-0 run gave Waupaca its biggest lead – 40-32 – early in the fourth quarter, but the Red Robins quickly cut the lead to two points and eventually regained the lead on a pair of Nicole Leiterman free throws with 2:03 remaining.
Waupaca took the lead for good on a basket by Marringa and Katie Barlow added four free throws in the final 25 seconds.
Fuss led the Comets with 12 points, while Marringa added 10. Kessler led Antigo with 18, but had only six in the second half.
“We felt slighted a bit that we had to travel up here because we had beaten Antigo earlier,” Temperly said. “They wanted to prove that maybe we’re a team that deserved a No. 2 seed. That was a goal of theirs tonight.”