Hortonville basketball season ends at state
McGlone scores 18 points in loss
By Erik Buchinger
The Hortonville girls’ basketball season ended in the WIAA Division 2 State Tournament semifinals for the second straight season with a 54-43 loss to Beaver Dam at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Friday, March 9.
Hortonville head coach Celeste Ratka said she was proud of her team’s performance against Beaver Dam, which has several Division 1 college recruits and came into the game as the No. 1 seed, winning 14 games in a row.
“There’s no shame in losing to a team like that,” Ratka said during the postgame press conference. “I’m really proud of our team. We gave it everything we had, and I’m just so proud of the way they battled and competed from start to finish. We had a bunch of girls step up, and I thought our leadership was great. They played like champions from start to finish.”
Ratka said the most difficult aspect to the end of a season is the seniors playing their final high school game. The senior class, which consists of Shay Frederick, Lexi Walter and Mady Pahl, helped elevate the Hortonville program with consecutive state tournament appearances.
“The hardest part is saying goodbye to our seniors,” Ratka said. “They’re a really special group. Hortonville hadn’t been to state in 30 years, and this group did it two years in a row and that’s saying something – a testament to their hard work and dedication.”
Macy McGlone led the Polar Bears with a team-high 18 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds with three steals.
“I didn’t care how many points I had,” McGlone said. “I just wanted my team to score, and if my teammates were scoring, I’m very happy about that.
“I just went out there and wanted to do my best. I really wanted to win, so I just tried not to be afraid of anything.”
Frederick was held scoreless with only two field goal attempts in the first half but finished with nine points on 3 of 7 shooting. She also had five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“It’s been something really special,” Frederick said of advancing to state the last two seasons. “Not many teams get the opportunity to come back a second time so I’m just really proud of this team. We came in here as the underdogs, and they went on a big run, but we didn’t back down. We didn’t come in here fearing them.”
Walter finished her Hortonville career with a game-high 10 rebounds and scored two points with three assists and two steals.
Hortonville scored first with a jumper from McGlone, and the game was tied at four until Beaver Dam went on an 18-3 run to take a 22-7 lead midway through the first half for its largest lead of the game.
The Polar Bears trailed 27-13 but held Beaver Dam scoreless for the last three minutes of the half, and McGlone converted two field goals to cut the deficit to 10 going into halftime.
“Throughout our year, we went through taking shots from other teams and getting up after you take those shots,” Ratka said. “We were relentless, we didn’t quit and just kept battling. It was one play at a time, and that was their approach all the way through.”
McGlone contributed 13 of Hortonville’s 17 first half points, including the last 10 Polar Bear points of the half.
“Macy was creating matchup problems inside for them with her athleticism,” Ratka said. “We were trying to find ways to get her the basketball. The other thing was getting her out in space, pulling out their defenders a little bit and getting her to attack them on the perimeter.”
Hortonville started the second half with a 3-pointer from Emily Nelson, and later in the half, she made another 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 35-30 with 11:54 left.
“We knew the double teams were probably going to come for Macy, so we told the shooters be ready because they’re coming,” Ratka said.
Nelson finished the game with seven points.
Frederick scored her first points of the game with 11:24 left in the second half on a driving layup down the lane.
“It got a little frustrating, but coming into today, I knew I wouldn’t get anything easy,” Frederick said. “I came into this game at the back of my mind thinking that my role was going to have to be setting screens, getting Macy open, getting her feeds and setting screens for other people to get them open. Even though I didn’t score, I tried to do everything I possibly could for my teammates to set them up for success.”
Two free throws from Frederick made the score 39-34 with 10 minutes left, but Hortonville went scoreless for more than five minutes as Beaver Dam extended its lead to 48-34 with 4:45 to play.
The Polar Bears cut the lead to single digits after a Frederick 3-pointer to make it a 48-39 game, but Beaver Dam pulled away for the win.
Despite the loss, Ratka said the Polar Bears acted like champions to end the season.
“Their body language, their words, everything about them said they were winners,” Ratka said. “That’s something I’m so proud of.”
Hortonville has just one junior on its roster, but the Polar Bears saw a lot of minutes from their sophomore class this season.
“We’ve got a lot of great youth coming up, but nothing is a given,” Ratka said. “That’s something I try to tell these girls that if you want something, you’ve got to be different. You’ve got to put the work in. Just because we have the potential to be great doesn’t mean anything. You’ve got to put the work in, but I think definitely we’ve got the talent to make another run, but if you ask this young lady (Frederick) how much she’s put in to be here two years in a row, I think it would probably blow some of their minds. It’s all about putting the work in and getting the chance to deserve to be here.”