SHULLSBURG – A big night for junior center Brianna Leahy became a big night for the Shullsburg girls’ basketball program as the #5-ranked and top-seeded Lady Miners hoisted up a WIAA Division 5 regional championship title after rolling over the #4-seeded Benton Zephyrs, 55-40, at SHS on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Leahy topped the 1,000-point milestone for her career after matching her career-high with a 30-point performance on Saturday night while leading the Miners (21-3 overall) to the program’s first regional title since 2013.
She is just the fifth player in program history– and fourth from Shullsburg– to reach the 1,000-point total, and she is just the second junior to do so, joining Crystal Swigart who holds the school record with 1,441 points.
“I’m really proud of her, but I’m most proud of the fact that she wanted to win a regional championship more than she wanted to reach 1,000 points. I’m proud of her and her teammates for fulfilling that goal,” said Shullsburg head coach Nathan Russell, whose last regional title came four years ago when Benton and Shullsburg were co-op partners. “These girls have bigger goals in mind and we’re going to do everything in our power to achieve them.”
Shullsburg’s next goal will come on Thursday, March 2, when they face #2-seed Riverdale (21-4) in a WIAA D4 sectional semifinal game at Mineral Point High School. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. The winner advances to the sectional final against the winner of Thursday’s other sectional semifinal game between Bangor (22-3) and Hillsboro (19-6) at Richland Center High School on Saturday, March 4, with a state tournament berth on the line. Tip-off has been set for 1 p.m.
“I’m really happy with where we are at. Defensively, we’re happy with how we’re playing. We think our defense can keep us in most games from here on out,” Russell commented.
The Miners grabbed the lead early in last Saturday's regional final thanks to a 16-0 scoring run.
Benton senior Jordan Busch briefly put the Zephyrs (15-9 overall) into a 3-2 lead by sinking a 3-pointer early in the first half, but the Miners charged back with 16 unanswered points to pull into the lead to stay at 18-3.
Junior Faith Ubersox scored 10 of the Miners’ points during the run to give the hosts a huge shot in the arm, while Leahy added 10 points in the opening half– the 10th coming on a free throw at the 1:53 mark of the first half that gave her exactly 1,000 for her career.
“We came out of the gates like we were shot out of a cannon. Faith stepped up. Knowing she wasn’t going to be guarded very closely, she had to hit some shots and she did. When they came out to guard her, she was able to make some entry passes to Brianna and we were able to make some magic happen,” noted Russell.
Shullsburg held a 29-18 lead at the intermission and extended that lead to as many as 15 points early in the second half.
Junior Emma Lawrence and senior Lily Carver scored five points apiece during an 11-4 run that brought the Zephyrs back within eight at 39-31 with 7:18 to play, but three consecutive baskets by Leahy brought the Miners' lead back to 14.
The Miners went 6-for-8 from the foul line in the final two minutes, 38 seconds to seal the victory.
Leahy scored 20 of the Miners’ 26 points in the second half to keep ahead of the Zephyrs. She finished with her 17th double-double of the season after grabbing 13 rebounds to go along with five blocked shots and two steals.
Ubersox scored all 10 of her points in the first half and tallied five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block, while senior Hattie Rennert netted seven points and senior McKailah Strang dished out seven assists
Lawrence also posted her 17th double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Zephyrs. Lawrence became the school’s all-time leading girls’ scorer in their previous meeting with Shullsburg back on Feb. 10, and she closes her junior season with 1,211 career points.
Carver tallied 10 points, five rebounds and two steals for Benton.
At Shullsburg, on Friday, Feb. 24, the host Miners were able to get the better of Six Rivers West rival Potosi by rolling to a 59-43 decision over the #8-seeded Chieftains in a WIAA D5 regional semifinal game.
Strang poured in 18 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead the Shullsburg attack, while Leahy chipped in with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Senior Cora Holland scored eight points. Rennert tallied seven points, five rebounds and four assist for the Miners, and Ubersox followed with six points, five boards and five assists.
Junior Abby Kaiser scored a game-high 23 points for the Chieftains (11-13), who had knocked the Miners out of the playoffs a year ago.
“Our kids knew we had to get over that psychological hurdle,” admitted Coach Russell.
At Shullsburg, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Lady Miners opened the playoffs by breezing to a 53-12 victory over the #16-seeded Southwestern Wildcats in a WIAA D5 regional quarterfinal game.
“We started off a bit sluggish, but we were able to finish strong. Once we got our feet under us, we were able to play really well,” Coach Russell said.
Ten players scored for Shullsburg led by Leahy, who finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Rennert added 11 points and three steals, and Ubersox tallied five rebounds and five assists for the Miners.
WIAA D5 REGIONAL FINAL
Benton…………… 18 22 – 40
Shullsburg………. 29 26 – 55
Benton – Ally Jansen 6, Emma Lawrence 19, Jordan Busch 3, Lily Carver 10, Kayla Dougherty 2. Totals – 14 7-12 40.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 10, Kindle Cook 1, McKailah Strang 2, Hattie Rennert 7, Nicole Teutschmann 2, Brianna Leahy 30, Cora Holland 3. Totals – 20 12-16 55.
3-point goals– B 5 (Jansen 1, Lawrence 1, Busch 1, Carver 2), S 3 (Ubersox 2, Holland 1). Total fouls– B 20, S 10. Fouled out– B: K. Dougherty; S: Ubersox.
WIAA D5 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Potosi……………. 12 31 – 43
Shullsburg……… 21 38 – 59
Potosi – Kaiser 23, J. Udelhofen 5, Horner 3, McKillip 3, Langkamp 3, H. Udelhofen 6. Totals – 16 4-6 43.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 6, McKailah Strang 18, Hattie Rennert 7, Nicole Teutschmann 4, Brianna Leahy 16, Cora Holland 8. Totals – 18 14-19 59.
3-point goals– P 7 (Kaiser 2, Horner 1, McKillip 1, Langkamp 1, H. Udelhofen 2), S 9 (Ubersox 1, Strang 5, Teutschmann 1, Holland 2). Total fouls– P 18, S 8. Fouled out– None.
WIAA D5 REGIONAL QUARTERFINAL
Southwestern………. 6 6 – 12
Shullsburg………….. 36 17 – 53
Southwestern – Hinman 2, Myers 2, Kruser 2, Barnes 2, Reese 2, Budden 2. Totals – 6 0-0 12.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 4, Kindle Cook 3, McKailah Strang 4, Hattie Rennert 11, Calli Jerry 3, Abby Pahnke 3, Nicole Teutschmann 3, Brianna Leahy 15, Cora Holland 5, Megan Greenfield 2. Totals – 18 10-13 53.
3-point goals– SW 0, SH 7 (Rennert 2, Jerry 1, Pahnke 1, Teutschmann 1, Leahy 1, Holland 1). Total fouls– SW 13, SH 5. Fouled out– None.