EDITOR’S NOTE: After four weeks of hype and introduction, the SWNews4U.com Southwest Wisconsin Boys Dream Tournament tipped off last week. This week we unveil the results and game recaps of the play-in games and first-round matchups of our 68-team Girls Dream Tournament.
The Dream Tournaments are fictional tournaments imagined by sports editors in the Morris Newspapers of Wisconsin group (Jason Nihles, Tom Gunnell and A.J. Gates), featuring the greatest area boys and girls high school basketball teams of the past 50 years.
This is the sixth week of the 10-part SWNews4U.com Southwest Wisconsin Basketball Dream Tournament series. Last week we published first round results for the Boys Dream Tournament. Next week, we will publish the fictional second round results for both the girls and boys tournaments.
16) 1988 Iowa–Grant 59, 16) 2019 Argyle 47
LIVINGSTON — Seniors Gail Diask and Gina Grimm carried coach Mike Williams’ 1988 Iowa–Grant Panthers to an decisive 12-point win in the West Regional play-in game.
Diask, who went on to play at D1 Western Illinois scored 15 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds to lead the SWAL 2 champion Panthers (20–5) to victory.
Grimm, a first-team All-SWAL 2 guard in 1988, added 16 points and seven assists for the Panthers, who led 32-20 at the half. Fellow senior Carrie Day added eight points, while junior Lana Wunderlin finished with seven points and four steals.
Senior guard Jena Saalsaa finished with a team-high 16 points, six rebounds and four steals to lead coach Nicole Allison’s Orioles (19–7), who finished second in the Six Rivers East in 2019 behind D5 state champion Black Hawk.
Senior guard Kirsten Ostby added 11 points and hit three 3-pointers, and senior Alysabeth Lantz chipped in nine points and seven points for Argyle.
12) 2018 Darlington 60, 12) 2003 Mineral Point 55 (OT)
MINERAL POINT — An extra four minutes was needed to decide the South Regional 12-seed play-in game after sophomore Jessi Sporle’s potential game-winning basket was waived off at the end of regulation to force overtime.
Senior Kaylee Meyers drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing, her fourth of the game, on the first possession of overtime and the 2018 Redbirds outscored the 2003 Pointers 7-2 in the extra session to advance.
Meyers caught fire late in the second half hitting back-to-back triples to rally the ‘Birds from an eight-point second half deficit to tie the game at 53-53.
After Darlington missed a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, Mineral Point had one last chance to win.
Sporle drove from the left wing, and momentarily had the ball tipped away. She regather and banked home an 8-foot jumper as the buzzer sounded, but after a brief conference the referees rule the ball was still in her hand when time expired.
Sporle finished with a team-high 17 points and five steals. Senior Jessica Henke added 16 points and eight rebounds for coach Chuck Bennett’s Pointers (18–6), who won the 2003 SWAL 2 title. Junior Becky Thomas, who scored Point’s only basket of OT, finished with nine points.
Meyers, who currently plays at UW–Platteville, finished with a tem-high 20 points, while classmate Kathleen Mathias, a currently D3 college player at Dubuque, added 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior Kennedy Rankin scored 10 points and junior Bethany McOonald chipped in eight for coach Kelly Rose’s 2018 SWAL champion Redbirds (20–5).
15) 2017 Riverdale 42, 15) 2004 Highland 36
HIGHLAND — Seniors McKenzie Couey, Macy Klebesadel and Autumn Noble all scored in double figures, but it was defense that lifted coach Scott Mau’s 2017 Chieftains to a six-point victory over the 2004 Cardinals.
Noble scored on a putback of a Couey missed to give Riverdale a 38-36 lead with 1:21 left in the game. Highland misfired on potential go-ahead 3-pointer on the next possession and was forced to foul.
Couey missed the front end of the bonus with 56 seconds to play, giving the Cardinals (19–5) another chance to tie or take the lead, but the Riverdale senior came up with a steal on the other end and then made four straight free throws in the final 23 seconds to close out the win.
Couey finished with a team-high 16 points, and five steals, but the Chieftains had to win the game at the defensive end after a rough shooting night. Klebesadel finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Noble added 11 points and 11 boards for the Chieftains (22–5), who advanced to the 2017 D5 sectional semifinals.
Senior Kristi Hasburgh, who tied the game at 36-36 on a putback basket with 2:04 left, finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Junior Lynsey Esser added eight points and classmate Whitney Wienkes added six.
16) 1986 River Valley 54, 16) 2003 North Crawford 43
SPRING GREEN — Senior center Shelly Coyle poured in 34 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lead the 1986 Blackhawks to an 11-point victory over the 2003 Trojans in the East Regional play-in game.
Coyle, who also led the 1985 and 1986 River Valley softball teams to state titles and went on to play at D1 Iowa State, showed why she was one of the greatest prep girls basketball players in state history on both ends of the court.
The 6’1” Coyle, who was named the 1986 AP Wisconsin Player of the Year after finishing her career with a state record 2,108 points, couldn’t be stopped inside and altered numerous shots on the defensive end, not counting the ones she did block.
Senior Sheryl Dischler added 11 points and senior Brenda Volk chipped in six for coach Denny Coppernoll’s Blackhawks (20–3), who shared the 1986 SWAL title with rival Prairie du Chien.
Senior Megan Chestelson, who was named the 2003 Ridge & Valley MVP despite missing six weeks with a broken hand, scored a team-high 18 points to lead coach Dave Bergum’s Trojans (17–6).
Senior Amy Larson scored nine points, while freshman Nakita McCann, the 2006 R&V MVP, added seven points and 10 rebounds for North Crawford.
For more coverage and complete first-round results for the Girls Dream Tournament, get your copy of this week Platteville Journal, Herald Independent, Republican Journal, Fennimore Times, Tri-County Press or Richland Observer today.