BARABOO — One of the most successful girls basketball seasons in Platteville High School history ended with a thud Thursday night.
The 2015–16 Hillmen went 17–8 and did two things no other PHS team had done together in the same season — win the Southwest Wisconsin Conference championship and a regional title.
But one of the teams Platteville beat to win the SWC title, Prairie du Chien, got the last word on the season by beating the Hillmen 70–52 in a Division 3 Sectional semifinal at Baraboo High School.
“We were able to achieve some things that have not been achieved for a while and that will set the bar high for future teams,” said Hillmen coach Brandon Temperly, the first PHS coach to get a girls team a conference title and a sectional game, the program’s first since a loss to Baraboo in the 1992 Division 2 sectionals. “This group had what it takes to be successful. They work hard, they work well together, they know how to have fun yet stay focused, they’re talented, and they don’t care who gets the credit — they just want to win.”
Prairie du Chien’s season ended two days later with a 50–35 loss to Madison Edgewood Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders will play Hayward in a Division 3 semifinal Thursday at 1:35 p.m. after beating number one-ranked Whitewater and number two-ranked Marshall on the way to their state berth.
The Blackhawks got out to a 12–6 lead via a 9–0 run over 6 minutes and 23 seconds in the first half, but an 8–0 Sierra Brecke run — layup, three-point play and three-point basket — gave Platteville a 14–12 lead with 9:12 left in the half.
After two Lindsey Welter three-pointers, a Skye Digman basket, a Lexi Budden three-pointer and a Claire Tashner free throw, Platteville led 22–20 with 3:33 left in the first half.
“We started the game out great, scoring right away and getting a steal for a score,” said Temperly. “It was back and forth most of the first half.”
That 22–20 lead turned out to be Platteville’s last lead of the night. Brooke Trautsch’s three-pointer — three of her game-high 24 points — followed a Brittany O’Connell free throw, a Kelsey Achenbach basket and two free throws each by Kelly Check and Welter, answered only by a Tashner basket, gave Prairie du Chien a 30–24 lead at the half.
“Prairie got hot to finish the half and that swung momentum in their favor,” said Temperly. “Trautsch is very good with the ball and was able to get to the foul line and connect. She shot well from the perimeter, which made her very difficult to guard. Achenbach is an exceptional athlete and uses that athleticism to get to the rim and score.”
The end-of-the-half momentum never left the Prairie bench. The Blackhawks needed less than three minutes to double their six-point halftime lead, and a 9–0 run expanded the lead to 46–27 six minutes into the second half. Achenbach had eight of her 21 points during the run that connected the two halves.
The Hillmen never got closer than 15 points, 46–31 on a Brecke three-point play and a Digman free throw, the rest of the way.
“Prairie has been playing with a lot of confidence the past eight games,” said Temperly. “They are shooting the ball well and they continued their hot streak. I would be shocked if they shot under 50 percent. Our girls kept battling but we did not get the job done. … We did not play our best game but no one made excuses, they just continued to work hard. It just wasn’t our night.”
Brecke had 24 points and Tashner 12 in their final high school basketball games. Digman added 11 points and five rebounds.
“This group of seniors has established a successful culture within the Platteville basketball program,” said Temperly of Brecke, Tashner, Budden, point guard Rachel Emendorfer and post player Allison Woodworth. “They did it the right way. They were good teammates, good listeners, talented, unselfish — the list goes on. Each one of these seniors possesses the skills to be very successful in life and I am very proud of their basketball accomplishments. They will have some great memories to take with them.”
WIAA Division 3 Sectional Semifinal
Prairie du Chien 70, Platteville 52
(from Thursday, March 4 @ Baraboo)
5) Prairie du Chien 30 40 — 70
2) Platteville 24 28 — 52
Prairie du Chien (15–9) — Brooke Trautsch 24, Lindsey Welter 15, Kelsey Achenbach 21, Kelly Chek 2, Maria Skemp 3, Brittany O’Connell 5. Totals – 21 21-28 70.
Platteville (17–8) — Alexis Budden 3, Brelynn Updike 2, Claire Tashner 12, Sierra Brecke 24, Skye Digman 11. Totals — 17 15-22 52.
3-point goals — PdC: 7 (Trautsch 4, Welter 3); Pla: 4 (Brecke 3, Budden 1). Total fouls — PdC: 17, Pla: 18. Fouled out — Pla: Rachel Emendorfer.