SHULLSBURG — Shullsburg’s path to a regional crown was littered with a lot of familiar faces, but the top-seeded Lady Miners showed that they can be just as tough the third time around as they beat a trio of Six Rivers West foes to successfully defend their title for a second straight season.
Shullsburg got off to a strong start in their regional championship rematch with Benton and steamrolled the #4-seeded Lady Zephyrs, 60-36, in a WIAA Division 5 regional final girls’ basketball game held at Shullsburg High School on Saturday, Feb. 24.
“This is a pretty special group. They have had a lot of people doubt them throughout the year. They went through some growing pains early, but they have persevered and battle for a very successful season. This group deserves all of the success they have received,” said Shullsburg head coach Nathan Russell.
Shullsburg advances to sectionals where they will face another SRW rival in the form of River Ridge, who knocked off conference co-champion Potosi, in their regional final game on Saturday.
The Miners (20-5 overall) split with the Timberwolves (24-1) during the regular season with each winning on the other’s home court. For the rubber match, they will square off on a neutral court at Prairie du Chien High School on Thursday, March 1, at 7 p.m.
The winner advances to a sectional final game at La Crosse Logan High School on Saturday, March 3, against the winner of the Thursday’s semifinal contest between Bangor (22-3) and Hillsboro (18-7). Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.
“Both teams know each other very well. We play the same type of basketball. Whoever can make the other play uncomfortable will have the advantage,” noted Russell.
Senior Faith Ubersox got the Miners going early in Saturday’s game, burying a pair of early 3-pointers to push the team out to a 13-2 advantage just moments into the game. The Zephyrs (15-10) were forced to play catch-up the rest of the way.
Shullsburg built up a 37-11 lead by the end of the first half, and then coasted through the second half to earn their second straight regional championship title over the Zephyrs.
“The first half of the game may be the most complete half any team I have coached has played in my 10 years of coaching. We played exceptionally well on both ends of the court. We played great team defense and limited them to one possession most of the night. I really like the way we shared the ball on offense leading to really good shots,” remarked Russell.
Saturday’s game marked the final head-to-head meeting between the members of the former Ben-Shulls co-op as this year’s seniors were teammates as freshmen in the final season of the co-op.
Senior Brianna Leahy poured in a game-high 17 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked six shots to lead the Lady Miners to their sixth consecutive victory over the Zephyrs in the past two season, while senior forward Emma Lawrence capped her spectacular career at Benton by finishing with a team-high 13 points.
Senior Nicole Teutschmann netted 10 points for the Miners, while Ubersox and fellow senior Kindle Cook added six points and three assists apiece in the win. Cook and freshman guard Layla Alt each had two steals in the game.
The Lady Miners advanced to Saturday’s regional championship game by crushing the #16-seeded Cassville Comets, 69-25, in their tournament opener at SHS on Tuesday, Feb. 20, and then bested the #8-seeded Belmont Braves, 60-47, in a regional semifinal affair back at home on Friday, Feb. 23.
Leahy recorded a third triple-double of the season and the seventh of her career against the Comets (3-19) after tallying 16 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocked shots to lead the Miners,
Alt netted 13 points, while Teutschmann and Calli Jerry chipped in with eight apiece for Shullsburg. Freshman Kayla Klotz added seven points, seven rebounds and five steals on the night.
“I was very happy with the way that the ladies came out and attacked Cassville from the start. We have played sluggish against them all year, and I was very impressed that our players came out and took it right at them from the start,” commented Coach Russell.
Leahy also had a big all-around night for the Miners against Belmont, scoring a game-high 25 points and pulling down 17 rebounds to go along with a team-high four blocks and four assists en route to their third win over the Braves this season.
“This game was a slugfest. I thought that both teams battled throughout the night,” admitted Russell. “I felt our post presence was key on both ends of the court as we were able to get them in foul trouble and Brianna was able to alter a lot of shots on their end. Layla Alt also did a tremendous job of attacking the rim all night.”
Alt tacked on 16 points and had a team-best four steals, while Ubersox scored nine points and added five rebounds for the Miners.
Belmont senior Briana Ernst scored 20 points on the night to top the 1,000-point mark for her career.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL FINAL
Benton………… 11 25 – 36
Shullsburg……. 37 23 – 60
Benton – Maggie Dougherty 10, Taylor Mowry 2, Emma Lawrence 13, Sophie Dougherty 2, Alexis Redfearn 3, Shay Soppe 6. Totals – 12 9-14 36.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 6, Kindle Cook 6, Kayla Klotz 7, Reva Spillane 2, Calli Jerry 8, Nicole Teutschmann 10, Brianna Leahy 17, Layla Alt 4. Totals – 21 11-16 60.
3-point goals– B 3 (Redfearn 1, Shay Soppe 2), S 9 (Ubersox 2, Cook 1, Klotz 1, Jerry 2, Nicole Teutschmann 2, Brianna Leahy 1). Total fouls– B 12, S 13. Fouled out– None.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Belmont……….. 20 27 – 47
Shullsburg……. 29 31 – 60
Belmont – Abby Althaus 8, Elsie de Haan 5, Nicole Knebel 2, Kassandra Palzkill 2, Briana Ernst 20, Kylie Crapp 4, Sadie Willborn 6. Totals – 18 7-11 47.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 9, Kayla Klotz 2, Reva Spillane 2, Nicole Teutschmann 6, Brianna Leahy 25, Layla Alt 16. Totals – 22 12-27 60.
3-point goals– B 4 (Althaus 2, Willborn 2), S 4 (Ubersox 1, Teutschmann 2, Alt 1). Total fouls– B 18, S 13. Fouled out– B: Palzkill.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS
Cassville…….... 15 10 – 25
Shullsburg……. 35 34 – 69
Cassville– Kartman 9, Nix 4, Reynolds 3, Johll 9. Totals – 9 3-4 25.
Shullsburg – Faith Ubersox 5, Anna Wiegel 2, Kayla Klotz 7, Madison Russell 3, Reva Spillane 5, Calli Jerry 8, Nicole Teutschmann 8, Brianna Leahy 16, Megan Greenfield 2, Layla Alt 13. Totals – 26 4-8 69.
3-point goals– C 4 (Reynolds 1, Johll 3), S 13 (Ubersox 1, Russell 1, Spillane 1, Jerry 2, Teutschmann 2, Leahy 4, Alt 2). Total fouls– C 9, S 8. Fouled out– C: Kartman.