PLATTEVILLE — After a pair of down-to-the-wire nail-bitting victories over Southwest Wisconsin Conference rival Richland Center, Monday’s rematch wasn’t even close.
Ninth-ranked Platteville raced out to 21–7 lead behind the sharp shooting of freshman point guard Josie Nies and cruised to an easier than expected 60–44 victory over the 10th-ranked Hornets in a WIAA Division 3 regional final at Platteville High School.
The regional final was played Monday night due to last Friday’s postponements of the regional semifinal games, which were played Saturday night.
Nies made four first half 3-pointers and finished the game with a career-high 20 points and five assists. Fellow freshman center Sami Martin added 15 points and 10 rebounds and senior guard Brelynn Updike made a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points.
Nies made a layup a minute into the game, then buried her first triple on an inbound play to tie the game at 5–5 and erase the Hornets’ final lead of the night. Martin added a pair of free throws on the next possession, junior Rachel Bailie converted a three-point play moment later and junior Skye Digman scored in the post on a nifty feed from Nies the ensuing Hillmen possession.
Updike canned a 3-pointer at the 14:02 mark, then Nies buried back-to-back 3-pointers to push the Platteville lead to 21–7 with 11:46 left in the half, just moments after Digman went to the bench with her second foul. Nies hit a stepback 3-pointer with two minutes left in the half then assisted on a Martin layup and set up Martin’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Hillmen a comfortable 35–20 halftime cushion.
“Josie played her best game of the season with the obvious 20 points but she also made good decisions with the ball and defended well,” said Platteville head coach Brandon Temperly. “One of the best qualities our team has is we love to win. We have girls at many positions that are capable of scoring big numbers and we have girls that enjoy playing tough defense. Each night we have girls ready to step up and score if they have a mismatch. [Monday night] happened to be Josie’s night but other girls will be ready when called upon.”
Platteville’s defense was equally impressive Monday night. The Hillmen harassed Division 2 Minnesota–Moorhead recruit and SWC Player of the Year Brooklyn Liegel into a miserable 3 for 16 shooting performance and held the SWC’s leading scorer to just eight points.
Junior Madison Rizner finished with a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds to lead Richland Center. Jenna Thomas added 10 points in the loss.
“The girls were focused on playing great defense all night and we delivered,” said Temperly. “We were able to frustrate their two leading scorers and force them into tough shots most of the night. It was a collective defensive effort but Brelynn Updike, Rachel Bailie, Becca Hoyer, and Hanna Langmeier each took turns guarding Liegel and Rizner.”
The Hillmen (20–4), who have now won eight straight games, advance to face top-seeded Wisconsin Dells (21–3) in a D3 sectional semifinal Thursday night at Baraboo at 7 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale at Platteville High School for $5.
Richland Center finished the year 20–3, with all three losses coming against Platteville.
Wisconsin Dells earned the top seed in the half-sectional by going a perfect 10–0 to win the South Central Conference title. The Chiefs defeated league rival Wautoma for the third time this season on Monday night, 53–35, to win their regional title. Junior guard Janna Mace leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Fellow junior Katelyn Meister averaged 14.2 points per game.
The winner of Thursday’s sectional semifinal will advance to face either top-ranked Whitewater (23–1) or second-ranked Madison Edgewood (21–3) in a D3 sectional final at Sun Prairie Saturday at 1 p.m.
“This team is gaining momentum at the right time,” added Temperly. “All teams that make it to sectionals are great teams so we will need to continue our upward trend and continue to commit to the defensive end. I am very proud of our girls for bringing home another championship.”
WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal
No. 2 Platteville 63, No. 7 River Valley 46
(from Saturday, Feb. 25 @ Platteville)
River Valley 26 20 — 46
Platteville 25 38 — 63
River Valley (9–15) — Alyssa Esser 7, Taylor Briehl 11, Emily Briehl 10, Feiner 11, Jewell 7. Totals – 20 4-8 46.
Platteville (19–4) — Josie Nies 14, Brelynn Updike 8, Rachel Bailie 2, Becca Hoyer 6, Hanna Langmeier 2, Sami Martin 10, Sami Knockel 7, Skye Digman 12, KD Hoyer 2. Totals — 23-49 14-23 63.
3-point goals — RV: 2 (Esser 1, Feiner 1); P: 3 (Nies 1, Updike 2). Total fouls — RV: 17; P: 11. Fouled out — RV: Carmen Hood.
WIAA Division 3 regional final
No. 2 Platteville 60, No. 3 Richland Center 44
(from Monday, Feb. 27 @ Platteville)
Richland Center 20 24 — 44
Platteville 35 25 — 60
Richland Center (20–3) — Grace Adsit 5, Olson 2, Paige Perkins 2, Madison Rizner 15, Kayla Monson 1, Brooklyn Liegel 8, Jenna Thomas 10, Ruffin 1. Totals – 17 8-17 44.
Platteville (20–4) — Josie Nies 20, Brelynn Updike 10, Rachel Bailie 3, Sami Brookens 2, Becca Hoyer 4, Sami Martin 15, Skye Digman 6. Totals — 22 9-13 60.
3-point goals — RC: 2 (Liegel 2); P: 7 (Nies 4, Updike 2, Martin 1). Total fouls — RC: 14; P: 21. Fouled out — none.