CUBA CITY – The only thing that could delay Cuba City girls’ basketball coach Jeff Pustina from earning his 600th career victory was overtime in the junior varsity game.
Once the varsity game started, Pustina’s Lady Cubans left no doubt that this would be the night their coach earned his milestone victory.
Senior Emily Wiederholt went off for a career-high 24 points as the #3-ranked Cuba City Cubans flew past the Lancaster Flying Arrows, 64-39, in a non-conference game held at CCHS on Monday, Jan. 4.
The Cubans improved to 10-0 on the season and ran their state-best winning streak to 59 games while earning Coach Pustina the 600th career victory of his 29-year career at Cuba City.
“Wow. First off, I can’t believe its gone that fast. You just put your head down and keep coaching,” Pustina said. “Certainly, it’s been a team effort. Our school administration, our support staff here at the school– everybody pitches in and really enjoys the basketball part of it. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good kids over the year. The players are obviously the ones who put in all the hard work and sacrifice to make all these things happen.”
The Cubans started off strong on both ends of the floor, scoring the first 10 points of the game while holding the Arrows (6-5) scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game.
Lancaster got as close as seven late in the half thanks to a 10-point effort from guard Kindra Yoose, but a three-point play by senior Jessi Marti in the closing seconds put the hosts ahead 26-16.
Wiederholt scored 11 of her points in the first half, including four putbacks off offensive rebounds, and Marti added nine points to lead the Cubans out to a 10-point halftime advantage.
After scoring inside for most of the first half, the Cubans went outside early in the second half to extend their lead. Wiederholt and Marti hit two 3-pointers apiece to go up 42-23, and then they pushed the lead to as many as 31 to coast to the victory.
Wiederholt nailed three 3s and scored 13 points in the second half. Marti finished with 17 points, while sophomore Megan Hartl came off the bench in the second half to score eight points.
Yoose, who was held to one point in the second half, led Lancaster with 11 points.
Following the final horn, the Cuba City crowd and his players surprised Coach Pustina by unveiling special t-shirts they had printed up in his honor. After a brief talk with his team, Pustina took time to shake hands, pose for pictures and chat with former and current students, family members and fans who came out to witness his 600th win.
“We have people sitting in the stands who have been here longer than me. It has been a long-lasting love affair with basketball here for a lot of years,” stated Pustina, who at 600-115 currently sits third on Wisconsin’s all-time prep girls’ basketball victory list behind former Barneveld girls’ coach Jim Myers (699-138) and Owen-Withee’s current head coach Al Guthman (649-276).
Pustina’s 599th victory was an impress one as well as his Cubans knocked off previously unbeaten Brodhead, 60-52, to win the title at the 2015 Cuba City Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
Last Monday’s snowstorm forced the scheduled two-day tournament into a one-day event, so the Cubans had a long day opening with a 67-22 victory over River Ridge/Scales Mound in the morning and ending with their victory over Brodhead in the evening to claim their second straight CC Classic title.
The Cardinals came into the championship game ranked #6 in Division 3 and sporting a 9-0 record, and they held the honor of being the last team to defeat the Cubans on the hardwood with a 60-54 decision in the 2013 title game at the tournament.
The two teams have met six straight years at the Classic and have split those games.
Jessi Marti and Kaitlyn Kaiser were sophomores on the 2013 team, and on Tuesday the senior duo made sure the Cards wouldn’t get them again.
Kaiser matched her season-high leading all scorers with 19 points, while Marti added 11 points to joined senior Emily Wiederholt (10) and junior Morgan Vosberg (13) in double figures.
The Cubans battled their way to a 29-17 halftime lead behind Vosberg’s 11 first-half points and a strong defensive effort.
Brodhead (9-1) got as close as 39-34 on a pair of free throws by Erin Nyhus with 10:39 to play, but the Cubans answered with an 11-4 run to go back ahead by 12 and they hit enough free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“It was a really physical basketball game. Our kids were looking forward to playing Brodhead. I thought we did a great job against a really good team. We played great defense and executed on the offensive end. We played some of our best basketball of the season in that game,” said Coach Jeff Pustina.
Senior Kylie Moe scored 17 points to lead the Cardinals, while senior Amber Pickel added 13 points and Nyhus finished with 12.
In the opener, Marti pumped in 20 points to pace the Cubans, who led 34-13 at the half and outscored the Wildcats 33-9 in the second half.
Wiederholt added 16 points, while senior Katya Spielvogel chipped in with eight points and Kaiser and freshman Elizabeth Misky netted seven apiece.
“We still haven’t played our best basketball yet. We’ve played good halves, but not a full game,” admitted Pustina. “We’re getting there. I’m really proud of the kids for buying into the system that we have here.”
Cuba City resumes SWAL play with games at Southwestern on Thursday, Jan. 7, and at home against Boscobel on Tuesday, Jan. 12
Lancaster…. 16 23 – 39
Cuba City…. 26 38 – 64
Lancaster– Galvan 8, Doll 4, Wagner 3, Yoose 11, Mumm 2, Bahl 3, Chadd 2, Larson 6. Totals – 10 13-19 39.
Cuba City – Morgan Vosberg 5, Elizabeth Misky 1, Jessi Marti 17, Megan Hartl 8, Emily Wiederholt 24, Kaitlyn Kaiser 4, Katya Spielvogel 4. Totals – 19 8-13 64.
3-point goals– L 2 (Wagner 1, Bahl 1), CC 6 (Vosberg 1, Marti 2, Wiederholt 3). Total fouls– L 0, CC 0.
2015 CUBA CITY CLASSIC
Brodhead…. 17 33 – 50
Cuba City…. 29 33 – 62
Brodhead – Nyhus 12, Pickel 13, Moe 17, Novy 3, Cook 5. Totals – 13 24-28 50.
Cuba City – Morgan Vosberg 13, Elizabeth Misky 7, Jessi Marti 11, Megan Hartl 2, Emily Wiederholt 10, Kaitlyn Kaiser 19. Totals – 22 13-24 62.
3-point goals– B 0, CC 5 (Vosberg 3, Misky 1, Wiederholt 1). Total fouls– B 27, CC 24. Fouled out– B: Novy; CC: Vosberg.
RR/SM……… 13 9 – 22
Cuba City….. 34 33 – 67
RRSM – Haas 8, Lehman 7, Vinklova 3, Wienen 2, Winter 1, Thomas 1. Totals – 5 11-19 22.
Cuba City – Morgan Vosberg 2, Elizabeth Misky 7, Jessi Marti 20, Ally Averkamp 5, McKenzie Vaassen 2, Emily Wiederholt 16, Kaitlyn Kaiser 7, Katya Spielvogel 8. Totals – 30 2-5 67.
3-point goals– RRSM 1 (Lehman 1), CC 5 (Misky 1, Marti 1, Averkamp 1, Wiederholt 2). Total fouls– RRSM 6, CC 18.