Senior drops 44 points on Berlin
By Greg Seubert
A scoring record that had stood for more than 20 years has been broken at Waupaca High School.
Victoria Nowak scored 46 points – 28 of them coming from the free-throw line – and pulled down 29 rebounds Dec. 22 in the Waupaca girls’ basketball team’s 80-70 nonconference win over Berlin.
Her 46 points breaks Hollie Nelsen’s single-game mark of 38 set in a regional final against Kimberly in 1996.
The win doesn’t count in the North Eastern Conference standings, but snaps a two-game skid that included a 60-25 home loss to Little Chute in the Comets’ previous game.
“To be honest, that might have been our low point this season,” coach Nate Harms said. “You go through that with a young team where you’re not really sure how to handle winning or losing. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves these last couple of weeks.
“We pushed them really hard this last week and it could have gone two ways,” he said. “It could have been a bad situation tonight where they just didn’t play hard and just didn’t feel good about themselves, but they did.”
Berlin took a 23-12 lead on Mari Beltran’s three-pointer, but Waupaca eventually cut the lead to 34-29, but Mya Johannes’ three three-pointers on three straight possessions late in the first half that turned that deficit into a 38-34 lead. Those baskets started a 14-1 run and the Comets never trailed the rest of the way.
“I love Mya because she will shoot anytime she’s open,” Harms said. “I know she can hit the shot and she has confidence. That was huge for us. That brought them out of that 1-3-1 zone, which was giving us a lot of problems. That really helped us because now we can attack a little more.”
Nowak finished the first half with 21 points that included 15 of 17 free throws. Her second three-point play of the game gave the Comets a 63-55 lead midway through the second half, but Berlin chipped away and eventually cut the lead to 66-62 late in the game.
However, Waupaca outscored the Indians 14-8 down the stretch. Nowak scored Waupaca’s final eight points, with the last six coming from the free-throw line.
“I told the girls, ‘You have a senior, you have to play for her, you play hard for her, she’s going to play hard for you,’” Harms said. “That’s what Vic did tonight. She played hard. She played her best game of the season. She is our everything and we know that. The thing that was great about tonight was she spreads the ball around. She passes it when there’s someone open. She’s a team player. She showed her leadership today and it was awesome, a lot of fun to watch. We have the best athlete in the conference. We need to understand our role around her and do what we did tonight.”
Harms said the Comets’ goal now is to improve in practice until their next game, a North Eastern matchup Tuesday, Jan. 3, in Appleton against Fox Valley Lutheran.
“This win gives us momentum going into the break,” he said. “You go into the break with a loss, I don’t know, girls aren’t as eager to practice. Now, they’re going to be ready. They’re going to be ready to practice.
“We’re going to get better in this four or five days of practice,” he added. “I’ve been waiting for this to happen. They took a big step in the right direction and I want to keep stepping that way.”