T-Birds win in final seconds
Wega girls hold Fischer to 9 points
By Greg Seubert
Trailing by a point with 17 seconds on the clock, it looked like the Iola-Scandinavia girls’ basketball team would come up short in its Central Wisconsin 8 Conference rematch with Weyauwega-Fremont.
Not so fast.
The Thunderbirds came up with a pair of turnovers, hit four free throws and escaped with a 33-30 win over the Indians Jan. 30.
Mia Wandtke’s basket gave the T-Birds a 16-8 lead late in the first half, but the Indians closed the half with a 7-0 run that included three-pointers from Morgan Monty and Kiley Akey to cut the lead to 16-15 at the break.
W-F took its first lead of the game on a pair of Akey free throws to open the second half and Daisy Wilson’s three-pointer gave the home team its biggest lead at 24-20.
Bryanna Kisting’s three with 2:07 remaining gave the T-Birds a 29-28 lead and Akey gave the Indians a 30-29 lead with 40 seconds to go.
Leighten Fischer gave I-S the lead for good with 17 seconds left with a pair of free throws to make it 31-30. Hannah Melum came up with a steal for the T-Birds and Kendall Johnson made two free throws that turned out to be the final points of the game. Fischer came up with another steal for the T-Birds to take away the Indians’ chance for a last-second shot.
“The game at the end there could have gone either way,” I-S coach Mark Wester said. “We’re fortunate to get out of here with a victory. We had some opportunities in the first half to extend our lead and we didn’t. They did an outstanding job defending Leighten Fischer.”
The T-Birds’ leading scorer scored 37 points Dec. 9 in a 60-44 win over the Indians in Iola, but had only nine in the rematch. On the other hand, she had a team-high 13 rebounds and her late free throws gave the T-Birds the lead for good.
Kisting and Melum added seven points for I-S, while Wandtke chipped in with six points and six rebounds and Kisting pulled down five rebounds.
Akey was the only player in the game to finish in double figures with 12 points. Wilson, Morgan Monty and Hailey Krause added five each.
“They scored 60 on us last time,” W-F coach Todd Breuer said. “We did the job we had to on Leighten. She scored 37 last time and nine tonight. We had Morgan Monty and Daisy Wilson guarding her, but it wasn’t those two shutting her down. It was the team shutting her down. Defensively, everything went great.”
“I just wish at the end there, we could have gotten one more bucket, if we could have just scored one more time,” he added. “Our inexperience kind of came through there at the end. It’s kind of been our M.O. all year, finishing games. Up to that point, the girls played great together.”
“They played extremely hard,” Wester said. “The plan that Todd had put in place, they executed it very well. We had to do all we could do here tonight to get a victory.”
The T-Birds improved to 9-7 overall and 4-4 in the CWC-8, while the Indians fell to 3-12 overall and 2-5 in league play.
“At this point of the season, teams are really familiar with one other,” Wester said. “They were definitely ready for us.”
The loss also came on Parents’ Night for the Indians.
“This was a tough one to lose,” Breuer said. “We had this one circled on the calendar and were looking forward to this one at home. We’re looking for some momentum going into the rest of our games here. We have Shiocton, Amherst and Wittenberg twice. I was hoping for some momentum going into those games, being competitive and keeping our confidence up. Our challenge is to respond after this and see what we do Thursday against Shiocton.”