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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Girls Basketball): No. 1 Platteville 48, No. 4 Arcadia 45
Top-ranked Platteville girls defeat Arcadia in WIAA D3 state semifinal
Izzy Carroll
Senior Izzy Carroll played a key role in Platteville's 48–45 state semifinal victory over Arcadia, finishing with eight points and eight rebounds. - photo by Nate Beier photo/

WIAA D3 GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE TOURNAMENT: No. 1 Platteville 48, No. 4 Arcadia 45

ASHWAUBENON — Another stellar defensive effort and a season-best shooting performance at the free throw line lifted the top-ranked, undefeated Platteville girls basketball team to a 48–45 victory over No. 4 seed Arcadia in Thursday’s WIAA Division 3 state semifinal at the Resch Center.

The game was played in front of mostly empty arena as the WIAA limited attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each team was allowed 88 tickets for immediate family members, with two supervisors and a limit of 22 team personnel. 

The Hillmen got off to their worst start of the season under the circumstances and were forced to rally from their largest deficit of the year, a 17–10 hole early in the first half, to clinch the program’s second berth in the WIAA state championship game in a game that was.”

“It was different playing in a large arena with no fans,” said Platteville head coach Mike Foley. “However, we stressed to the team the entire year that when adversity presents itself we need to stay focused and play as a team. 

It was also different falling behind 17 –10, because it was the largest deficit we were behind all year.  The girls remained focused and played on.  I believe we had an 11-point run on our own to pull ahead.”

Platteville scored the game’s first four points, but the Red Raiders (23–4) countered with an 11–0 run, capped by senior Ellie Hoesley’s 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the first half that gave Arcadia a 17–10 lead.

Foley called a timeout and switched to a 1–3–1 trapping zone defense.

The change paid immediate dividends. The Hillmen forced turnovers on four of Arcadia’s next five possessions that led to a tide-turning 11–0 run of their own.

Hoesley was whistled for her third foul of the game and senior Sami Martin split a pair of free throws to begin the run.

Senior Becca Hoyer converted a three-point play, then Martin scored on a hook shot in the paint to make it a one-point game. Fellow senior Josie Nies split a pair of free throws to tie the game, then feed Martin for a fast break layup to give Platteville a 19–17 lead with 3:12 left in the half. Hoyer capped the run with a pair of free throws two minutes later and the Hillmen lead 21–19 at the half.

“As a coaching staff we knew if we went to the 1–3–1 we could cut down the angles and get a few turnovers,” said Foley. “We also knew that Arcadia struggled in their transition defense. We had an opportunity to get some steals that led to some quick run outs for some quick scores.”

Platteville continued the momentum early in the second half with a steal and breakaway layup by Martin and a free throw by Nies, but Arcadia scored seven straight to take regain a 26–24 lead with 14:42 left on a three-point play by senior Linzy Sendelbach.

Freshman Camryn Nies banked in a jumper, older sister Josie drilled a pull-up 3-pointer and Martin scored on a post up to give Platteville a 31–26 lead with 12:43 left.

Arcadia had one last run as senior guard Hannah Suchla and Hoesley sandwiched triples around a basket by Becca Hoyer to pull within one at 33–32 with 10:31 left.

After Hoesley picked up her fourth foul, Arcadia clawed back to make it one-point game again at 39–38 on back-to-back layups by Sendelbach and a layup by Hoesley with 5:38 left.

But senior Izzy Carroll scored on a nice pass from Josie Nies on Platteville’s next possession and moments later Nies drew Hoesley’s fifth foul sending her to the bench with 4:19 left. Martin was fouled just second later and made both free throws. 

The Platteville defense then forced a jump ball and Carroll was fouled and made both ends of the bonus to give the Hillmen a 45–38 lead with 3:43 to play.

Sendelbach scored back-to-back baskets for Arcadia to make it a 3-point play and after a Platteville turnover, the Red Raiders had the ball and a chance to tie. But Breah Golden potential game-tying 3-pointer missed the mark and Josie Nies made 3 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 1:02 to close out the win.

“Hoesley is an athletic presence on the floor,” said Foley. “She was able to go inside and outside. It was huge that she got in foul trouble. When she fouled out that was the turning point in the game.”

The Hillmen outscored Arcadia 18–9 in the nine minutes Hoesley was on the bench at the end of each half, while the Red Raiders held a 36–30 advantage in the 27 minutes Hoesley was on the floor. Hoesley finished with a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss. 

Martin scored a game-high 17 points on 5 of 9 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line and grabbed nine rebounds and had three of Platteville’s eight steals. Hoyer added 11 points, three rebounds and two steals. Carroll finished with eight points and eight boards, while Josie Nies chipped in eight points and four assists.

“This was a huge win for the girls,” said Foley. “They worked extremely hard to get to this point in their career. Winning that state semifinal game is a difficult thing to do. The assistant coaches did a tremendous job preparing the girls and putting them in situations to win this game. This win was great for the future of the girls basketball program, our school, and the Platteville community.  I am so proud of these girls, because they worked so hard as a team and they all played unselfish basketball to stay 26–0 on the season.”

Platteville improved to 26–0 and earned a date in Saturday’s D3 state championship game against Wrightstown (25–2). Unfortunately, that gave will never be played.

Late Thursday night the WIAA announced the cancellation of the rest of the girls state tournament, as well as the rest of the WIAA boys basketball tournament series, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“For the girls they were devastated,” said Foley. “It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my career as an educator was to  tell them that heir season was over and they would not get the opportunity to play in the championship game. As a coaching staff used this opportunity to teach life lessons. We conveyed  the message that there are things in life larger than sports. The pain and sorrow you are feeling will make us stronger individuals later in life. Be proud that you had the opportunity to play in a state game and you were able to make it here in your career finishing the season at 26–0.”

The Platteville coaching staff contacted Wrightstown Friday morning and met up for a group photo with the Tigers entire team and coaching staff in the Resch Center.

“I thought this would be a great gesture for both teams and communities that we would be in solidarity with what had transpired in with both teams winning the state semifinal game and then having the championship game cancelled. I really feel that it did bring closure to both teams. The girls and coaching staff had time to reflect and also see and hear what the Wrightstown girls were feeling. I could see the girls’ spirit change once they started interacting with the Wrightstown girls. It was a moment that I will never forget.”  

“This was an amazing journey,” added Foley. “Looking back, the girls really had a fantastic year.  Very few players can say they went undefeated in their career. The girls played some really good teams throughout the season. Looking at our schedule, the girls defeated four other schools that made it to Green Bay for their state semifinal game in their respective divisions including Oconomowoc, Lake Mills, Crandon and Arcadia. I am so proud of this entire team on how they were positive role models at school and in the community. I also don’t want people to forget that the Platteville JV team finished its season at 20–1.”

Platteville will lose seven seniors, including starters Martin, Hoyer, Carroll, Nies and Courtney Budden, as well as Allie Cooley and Morgan Mumm. The Platteville senior class has compiled a 87–15 record over the past four years, including 36–4 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference. They won SWC titles in 2017 and 2020, four straight regional titles and this year’s WIAA D3 sectional championship. They advanced to the sectional final in three of their four seasons and were only knocked out of the playoffs by eventual D3 state champions, Madison Edgewood in 2017 and Marshall in 2018 and 2019.

“This group of girls have grown as teammates and as individuals,” said Foley. “They have accomplished accolades on and off the court. It is a group of girls that will be missed because of their hard work and determination to succeed in whatever they do. Many coaches don’t have the opportunity in their career to be involved in something great like this. These girls are great role models for their school and community. I am one of the luckiest people around to be able to share this moment in history with them. I am proud of their work ethic and their willingness to do whatever it takes to be successful. I am so proud of them and I know they will be successful in whatever they decide to do in the future.”

WIAA Division 3 state semifinals

No. 1 Platteville 48, No. 4 Arcadia 45
(from Thursday, March 12 @ Resch Center, Green Bay)
Arcadia........19 26 — 45      
Platteville....21 27 — 48  
Arcadia (23–4) — Chloe Halverson 3-7 0-0 6, Hannah Suchla 4-9 0-2 10, Ellie Hoesley 6-8 1-1 15, Linzy Sendelbach 6-11 2-5 15, Mercedes Romo 0-6 0-0 0, Autumn Passehl 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Suchla 0-0 0-0 0, Ali Pronschinske 0-0 0-0 0, Breah Golden 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 19-48 3-7 45. 
Platteville (26–0) — Becca Hoyer 4-8 3-3 11, Courtney Budden 1-3 0-0 2, Josie Nies 1-5, 5-8 8, Sami Martin 5-9 7-8 17, Izzy Carroll 3-9 2-2 8, Camryn Nies 1-5 0-0 2, Maddie Cooley 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Devlin 0-0 0-0 0.
3-point goals — A: 4-19 (Halverson 0-2, H. Suchla 2-5, Hoesley 2-3, Romo 0-4, Golden 0-5), P: 1-8 (Hoyer 0-1, J. Nies 1-2, Martin 0-1, Carroll 0-1, C. Nies 0-3). Team fouls — A: 18, P: 13. Fouled out — A: Hoesley.