NEILLSVILLE — Alexis Severson’s 3-pointer at the second-quarter buzzer changed the entire complexion of Thursday’s WIAA Division 5 girls basketball sectional semifinal.
Severson’s last-second shot not only trimmed Hillsboro’s six-point lead to just three, 20–17, entering the break, but it also gave upstart Gilmanton a much needed boost of confidance.
Severson buried four 3-pointers in the game and finished with a game-high 16 points to lead the Panthers to a come-form-behind 43–39 upset of the top-seeded Tigers.
It was Gilmanton’s (13–11) sixth straight win after losing six straight games in early February.
Despite Severson’s hot shooting night, Gilmanton still trailed by three entering the fourth quarter, before outscoring Hillsboro 15–8 in the final eight minutes.
Turnovers played a large role in the Tigers’ (21–4) inability to establish any sort of offensive rhythm in the second half.
Gilmanton forced 14 Hillsboro turnovers while only committing eight itself against the defensive minded Tigers.
The Panthers also made four 3-pointers on the night and converted 11 of 14 free throws to put the game away in the last minute of play.
“It was a fun year and the players played their roles very well,” said Hillsboro head coach Ron Benish. “I really enjoyed this group of girls and their efforts. They collected a regional championship and finished tied for second place in the conference after we were picked by the league coaches to finish fifth. The girls surprised many with their team defense and their ability to play together. It was a truly successful year for the Lady Tigers.”
Senior forward Sami Levy scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in her final game for Hillsboro.
Fellow senior Kelsey Skala finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals, while senior foward Macy Mislivecek added seven points and a team-high 10 rebounds.