MINERAL POINT — Potosi coach Brad Bierman knew his Chieftains would have to play their best game of the season in Thursday’s WIAA Division 5 sectional semifinal against top-ranked Barneveld if they were to continue their Cinderella run.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The Chieftains missed four layups and four free throws in the first seven minutes and quickly found themselves in a deep 16–2 hole.
The two-time defending state champion Eagles scored the first 11 points of the game and never looked back en route to a convincing 67–30 victory.
“When you get to a game at the sectional level like that, the difference between a team that has been there before and a team that hasn’t can show up,” said Bierman. “I don’t think we were tight or intimidated. I think we were too amped up, too excited.
“We had our opportunities early on. We just didn’t finish and they made shots. We dug such a big hole it was too much to come back from against a team of Barneveld’s caliber.”
Potosi did an admirable job defensively on Barneveld senior standout Hannah Whitish, holding the high-scoring guard to just 11 points, using a box-and-one zone and constant double teams, but the rest of the Eagles made Bierman’s squad pay.
Senior guard Kelsee Fargo, who averages six points a game, scored a season-high 20 points. Junior forward Mia Whitish added 19 and junior Teegan Pickarts chipped in 11.
The Eagles made nine 3-pointers in the game, including seven in the 20 minutes on the way to a 32–12 halftime lead.
Senior Maddie Hawes scored a team-high 11 points in her final game to lead Potosi. Sophomore Abby Kaiser added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Calie Gibson, who suffered a torn ACL in practice two weeks ago, scored two points in her final appearance when Barneveld conceited an uncontested layup to the injured senior with four minutes remaining.
Barneveld went on to defeat Hillsboro 66–34 in Saturday’s sectional final at Richland Center High School. The Eagles (27–0) will face Clayton Friday morning at 9:05 a.m. in the D5 state semifinals at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Meanwhile, Potosi finished the year 18–8 overall after going 7–5 in the Six Rivers West and winning its third regional title in the past seven seasons.
“Of course we wish we would have played better on Thursday, but one loss can’t take away what we did this year and the week before winning three games in five days to win the regional title,” added Bierman. “It’s not like we were playing poorly at the beginning of the year, but we really connected as a team in the last few weeks.”
WIAA Division 5 Sectional Semifinal
Barneveld 67, Potosi 30
(from Thursday, March 4 @ Mineral Point)
6) Potosi 12 18 — 30
1) Barneveld 32 33 — 67
Potosi (18–8) — Taylor Bloyer 4, Calie Gibson 2, Maddie Hawes 11, Abby Kaiser 10, Brooke McKillip 3. Totals — 13 3-10 30.
Barneveld (26–0) — Fargo 20, Malin 1, Murphy 3, Pickarts 11, Schave 2, Hannah Whitish 11, Mia Whitish 19. Totals – 23 12-17 67.
3-point goals — P: 1 (Mckillip 1); B: 9 (Fargo 4, Pickarts 3, H. Whitish 1, M. Whitish 1). Team fouls — P: 17, B: 17. Fouled out — none.