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Hillmen comeback falls just short
A series of late miscues sinks Platteville in loss to Richland Center
pla gbb kasper
Senior Holly Kasper knocks down a jumper during the first half of Fridays loss to Richland Center. Kasper scored a game-high 17 points in the game.

     PLATTEVILLE — As the Platteville girls’ basketball team reviewed the film from Friday’s 48–41 loss to 5–11 Richland Center, coach Jim Lawinger pointed out how the difference in a number of little things could have meant a difference in the outcome.

     As it stands, Lawinger’s Hillmen rallied to within three points late in Friday’s SWC matchup, but committed a handful of miscues in the final three minutes to seal their own fate in the seven-point loss.

     “We watch the video Monday night of all the little things, the missed layups, turnovers, missed box-outs, things that we can control by a little bit more attention to detail and better practice habits,” said Lawinger. “These are things we can work at and get better at.”

     Even with Friday’s loss, Platteville is in the midst of a winning season with a 10–6 overall record and a 3–3 mark in the SWC.

     “The difference in Friday’s game was that we missed three or four shots close to the basket in the second half and they had a number of shots in the paint that did fall,” said Lawinger. “We have trouble with taller teams that can pass over us and score inside. They passed very well and that combination of things was our downfall.”

     Platteville went back and forth with the Hornets (5–11, 3–3) and led 16–14 after senior Cassie Hamer scored twice in the final 1:30 of the opening period.

     But Center rattled off 12 straight points to begin the second quarter, scoring five times on layups.

     Platteville senior Holly Kasper, who played what Lawinger called her best game of the year, hit back-to-back shots to end the run and pull the Hillmen within six at 26–20.

     Again the Hornets went on a run scoring the final seven points of the half to take a 33–20 lead into the locker room.

     Platteville chipped away at the lead in a sloppy third quarter and trailed by 10 entering the final eight minutes.

     Kasper buried back-to-back jumpers early in the quarter to cut the deficit to six at 37–31.

     Kasper scored in the post on a feed from Hamer with 4:42 left and just nine seconds later a pair of Hamer free throws made it 40–36.

     A 3-pointer by Ashley Budden pulled the Hillmen within three at 42–39 with 3:37 and had the home crowd in a frenzy.

     Platteville forced back-to-back turnovers but failed to convert on either opportunity missing a short shots on both offensive possessions.

     Budden came up with a steal at the 1:50 mark — Center’s third straight turnover, but Platteville gave it right back four seconds later.

     The Platteville defense dug in once more and forced a miss, but the Hornets Shauni Fink grabbed back-to-back offensive rebounds and scored on a putback to push the lead to five.

     After another Platteville miss, Brooke Peterson made a pair of bonus free throws with 50.5 remaining to put the game out of reach.

     “That’s part of the learning experience, learning how to finish in close games,” said Lawinger. “That’s where clutch players are born. We need to develop the mentality of winning those close games. I love our never say die mentality and our will to fight and get in the position to win that game, now it comes down to making those shots late in games.”

     Kasper finished Friday’s game with a season-best 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Kasper also scored 17 points in a 57–48 loss at Richland Center on Dec. 4. Hamer added nine points, four assists and three rebounds for the Hillmen.

     Sophomore Brooklyn Liegel, who hit nine 3-pointers and scored 29 points in the first meeting between the two teams, made four triples and scored a team-high 14 points to lead the Hornets on Friday.

     The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Platteville.

     Last Tuesday Hamer scored a game-high 18 points, while junior Sierra Brecke added 15 points and five rebounds in a 55–49 non-conference victory over visiting Darlington. Kasper added 12 points for the winners.

     “Sierra Brecke played probably her best game of the year,” said Lawinger. “She was in a very confident mode. She took the game over, along with Cassie Hamer, by taking the ball to the basket.”

     Platteville will travel to Prairie du Chien (7–8, 3–3) Thursday before hosting undefeated Cuba City (14–0), the top ranked team in Division 4, in a non-conference game on Monday.

Platteville 55, Darlington 49
(from Tuesday, Jan. 20 @ Platteville)

Darlington    7    13    9    20     —  49
Platteville    15    7    18    15     —  55
Darlington (3–10) — Norton 10, Fitzsimons 8, Rankin 10, Wiegel 9, Rankin 3, Cox 9. Totals — 20 6-12 49.
Platteville (10–5) — Claire Tashner 5, Rachel Emendorfer 4, Allison Woodworth 1, Cassie Hamer 18, Holly Kasper 12, Sierra Brecke 15. Totals — 19 15-24 55.
3-point goals — D: 3 (Wiegel 3); P: 2 (Hamer 2). Team fouls — D: 17, P: 12. Fouled out — none.

Richland Center 48, Platteville 41
(from Friday, Jan. 23 @ Platteville)

Richland Center   14    19    4    11     —  48
Platteville               16      4    7    14     —  41
Richland Center (5–11, 3–3) — Lexi Ewing 6, Shauni Funk 2, Paige Perkins 2, Madison Rizner 12, Brooklyn Liegel 14, Allison Schauf 4, Brooke Peterson 8. Totals — 18 8-10 48.
Platteville (10–6, 3–3) — Claire Tashner 2, Rachel Emendorfer 4, Cassie Hamer 9, Holly Kasper 17, Sierra Brecke 3, Ashley Budden 6. Totals — 15 9-11 41.
3-point goals — RC: 4 (Liegel 4); P: 2 (A. Budden 2). Team fouls — RC: 16, P: 16. Fouled out — none.