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Regional heartache
Potosi season ends with regional final loss to Benton/Shullsburg
potosi gbb flesch
Junior Haley Flesch (2) consoles freshman Maddie Hawes (3) while junior Destine Droessler (14) comforts senior Bridget Curtis (10) in the back ground.

     POTOSI — It figured that the two co-champions of the Six Rivers West Conference would meet with a chance to end each other’s season.
     Benton/Shullsburg (23–2) won 58–57 in Benton Jan. 24. Potosi (21–4) won 50–42 in Potosi Feb. 14.
     The rubber match Saturday night went to the third-seeded ZephyrMiners, who beat the second-seeded Chieftains 58–47 to win the Division 5 Potosi Regional.
     When Potosi’s standout senior Abby Ames went to the bench with her fourth foul midway through the  third quarter the visiting co-op seized upon the opportunity.
     Benton/Shullsburg took the lead for good on a pair of three-pointers by Blaire Lutes and Maggie Neis in the final 1:47 of the third quarter. The Zephyr-Miners then slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter by going 15 of 21 from the free-throw line, with two offensive rebounds off missed free throws added in.
     “That really was the turning point of the game,” said Potosi head coach Brad Bierman. “They got up eight and had control from there. We had to try and extend the game by fouling and give them credit; they finished at the line.”
     Benton/Shullsburg outscored Potosi 14–2 over a 6½-minute stretch from late in the third to halfway through the fourth quarter, with the Chieftains not getting one field goal during that stretch. The Chieftains missed shots from the field as well as five free throws in the second half, and the Zephyr–Miners scooped up most of the defensive rebounds.
     Lutes led all scorers with 23 points, 17 in the game’s final 12 minutes, despite playing not even half of the first half after collecting her second foul with 1:23 remaining in the 11-foul first quarter.
     The Zephyr-Miners’ second leading scorer, Sarah Redfearn, collected her second foul with 2:51 left in the first half. Redfearn ended with 14 points.
     Potosi wasn’t able to take advantage of Benton/Shullsburg’s foul trouble, though, never leading by more than four points, in part because of the Chieftains’ 4 of 8 first-half free throw shooting.
     Potosi’s foul trouble came in the second half Ames collected her fourth foul with 4:19 left in the third quarter.
     Junior Haley Flesch collected her fourth foul with 42 seconds left in the third, and freshman Maddie Hawes collected her fourth foul 23 seconds into the fourth quarter. Hawes fouled out with 33 seconds left, and Ames fouled out with 9 seconds left.
     Flesch and Hawes led Potosi with 10 points each. Hawes also had nine rebounds and four assists. Senior Tiffany Langmeier grabbed with a team-high 10 rebounds.
     “Obviously we wanted to win a regional title, but we got be by a very good basketball team Saturday,” said Bierman. “They are not 23–2 by accident. We knew it was going to be a battle.
     “Our girls are unbelievable crushed right not, but this is a very special group. We still had a great season; 21 wins and a conference championship is a great season.”
     Potosi advanced to Saturday’s regional final with a 52–40 victory over Racine Lutheran Friday night.
     Senior Bridget Curtis scored nine of her 12 points in the final four minutes to hold off a possible Lutheran comeback.
     Curtis scored on a layup with 3:58 remaining to make it 41–32, then hit a pair of free throws 10 seconds later. After a pair of Ames free throws, Curtis scored again to cap a 9–0 Chieftain run that helped put the game away.
     Freshman Rachel Hasko hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 1:20 to keep it relatively close. Hasko finished with a team-high 12 points.
     Ames finished with a game-high 19 points and four steals for Potosi. Langmeier added eight points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
     “Racine came to battle and they made it a game,” said Bierman. “They were very physical and very aggressive.”
     Potosi opened the D5 playoff Wednesday — a day late due to last Tuesday’s snow storm — with a dominating 70–27 victory over Madison Abundant Life Christian/Country Day.
     Freshman Mackenzie Brown, who joined the Potosi varsity for the final month of the season, led the Chieftains with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
     Flesch added 14 points for the winners, and Ames and Langmeier each reached double figures with 10 points.

WIAA Division 5 Regional Quarterfinal
Potosi 70, Madison Abundant Life 27
(from Wednesday, Feb. 27 @ Potosi)
Abundant Life    6      7    10      4     —  27
Potosi                21    24    14    11     —  70
Abundant Life (5–18) — Fabick 12, Gerry 4, Guest 1, Highman 10. Totals — 10 7-19 27.
Potosi (20–3) — Haley Flesch 14, Maddie Hawes 5, Bridget Curtis 4, Destine Droessler 5, Abby Ames 10, Mackenzie Brown 16, Liz Reuter 6, Tiffany Langmeier 10. Totals — 25 20-29 70.
3-point goals — AL: ?, P: ?. Team fouls — AL: 20; P: 18. Fouled out — AL: Carrill, Highman.

WIAA Division 5 Regional Semifinal
Potosi 52, Racine Lutheran 40
(from Friday, March 1 @ Potosi)
Racine Lutheran    4    12    8    16     —  40
Potosi                   10    14    8    20     —  52
Racine Lutheran (7–17) — Hasko 12, Wilkinson 4, Hlavacek 4, Sparsky 4, Aumann 6, Trevion 4, Naegeli 6. Totals — 18 1-5 40.
Potosi (21–3) — Haley Flesch 6, Maddie Hawes 3, Clara White 1, Bridget Curtis 12, Abby Ames 19, Mackenzie Brown 3, Tiffany Langmeier 8. Totals — 14 21-30 52.
3-point goals — RL: 3 (Hasko 2, Wilkinson 1), P: 3 (Ames 3). Team fouls — RL: 22; P: 12. Fouled out — none.

WIAA Division 5 Regional Final
Benton/Shullsburg 58, Potosi 47
(from Saturday, March 2 @ Potosi)
Benton/Shulls.    11    11    13    23    —  58
Potosi                  13    11     7    16     —  47
Benton/Shullsburg (23–2) — Brant 3, Droessler 2, Lutes 23, Redfearn 14, Neis 8, Bastian 1, Roberts 7. Totals — 16 21-33 58.
Potosi (21–4) — Haley Flesch 10, Maddie Hawes 10, Clara White 1, Bridget Curtis 3, Abby Ames 8, Mackenzie Brown 9, Liz Reuter 2, Tiffany Langmeier 4. Totals — 16 13-22 47.
3-point goals — B/S: 5 (Lutes 2, Neis 2, Roberts 1); P: 2 (Hawes 1, Ames 1). Team fouls — B/S: 20; P: 27. Fouled out — P: Ames, Hawes.