Thirty-nine and counting.
The New London girls’ basketball team moved a step closer to defending its Division 2 state championship Thursday, March 15, with a 67-22 sectional semifinal win over Merrill at Wausau East High School.
The win, the Bulldogs’ 39th in a row, sets up a sectional final showdown with Hayward at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 17, in Marshfield. The winner of that game will take on Green Bay Notre Dame or Beaver Dam at 1:35 p.m. Friday, March 23, in a state semifinal matchup at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Merrill scored the first basket March 15, but that turned out to be the Bluejays’ only lead of the game, as New London scored the next 14 points and led 16-4 after one quarter and 38-9 at halftime.
Tara Knapstein and Brenna Heise accounted for 29 of the Bulldogs’ points in the first half with 15 and 14, respectively.
Merrill never got any closer than 27 points in the second half, as New London took a 51-18 lead into the fourth quarter and outscored the Bluejays 16-4 over the final eight minutes.
Knapstein led all scorers with 22 points, while Heise added 17.
The Bulldogs also hit nine of 12 free throws and held Merrill’s leading scorer, Renee Sladek, to six points, all in the second half.