In the end, it was too much Hortonville and not enough Waupaca.
Hortonville ended the season for the Waupaca girls’ basketball team March 7 by handing the Comets a 62-27 loss in a Division 2 regional semifinal.
Waupaca ended the season with an 8-15 record, while the Polar Bears season ended March 8 with a 54-38 loss to New London in a regional final.
The Polar Bears took an early 10-1 lead and led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
A two-for-22 shooting slump in the first half had Waupaca trailing 15-5 after one quarter and 28-11 at the break.
Waupaca never got any closer than 16 points in the second half and trailed by as many as 36 late in the game.
“We knew they had some big girls inside and they could shoot from the outside,” co-coach Laine Lazers said. “They just outphysicaled us the whole night. We didn’t have an answer for anything.”
Making only one basket in each of the first two quarters didn’t help.
“That’s been the story of our season,” Lazers said. “We just can’t finish. Once people started to pressure us, we got in trouble and you could see it again tonight. It’s not that we don’t work on that in practice, it’s hard to simulate that level of pressure in a practice situation. Sometimes, the girls get too focused on the defender and not worried about where the rim is.”
The Comets hit only seven field goals in the game, missed 22 of 25 free-throw attempts and turned the ball over 26 times.
“I’m proud of our young ladies,” Lazers said. “We didn’t have the record that we would’ve liked to have this year, but that group of seven seniors hung together and some of them have been playing together since fifth grade. It’s tough to see them go.”
Sydney Brooks led the Comets with eight points, while Caitlin Hoerning led Hortonville with 14.
“I told them in the locker room, ‘The only teams that get to walk out of Division 2 happy are the ones that win the gold ball because eventually everybody ends up in the locker room like us tonight,’” Lazers said.
“We weren’t able to beat the teams in the upper echelon of the Eastern Valley (Conference), but we hung with them,” he said. “We played Freedom tough. In one game against (Appleton) Xavier, it was a six-point game at the half. FVL (Fox Valley Lutheran) was the only one that really took it to us this season.
“The Mosinee game was a big win for us,” he added. “Everything was going our way that night and we just haven’t been able to get over that hump the rest of the season.”