RICHLAND CENTER — Last Thursday’s regular season finale was a loss on two fronts for the Platteville girls’ basketball team.
But less than an hour after losing both senior Julia Lawinger for the remainder of the season to a torn ACL and the game — a 63–47 decision at Richland Center — the Hillmen received a bit of good news that made for a bittersweet celebration on the bus ride home on an otherwise downer of a night.
“The girls were really down after losing Julia and the game, but on the bus ride home they found out through text that Dodgeville had beaten Prairie du Chien allowing us to win conference by ourselves,” said Hillmen head coach Wayne Jentz. “That lightened the mood. The girls were excited to win [the title] outright. They worked hard and they deserved it.”
Lawinger injured her knee early in the second quarter when she landed awkwardly after jumping to steal a pass.
Lawinger, a three-year state qualifier in track and field, plans to put off surgery for now. She will attempt to rehab over the next few weeks in hopes of competing in track this spring.
Platteville (18–4, 8–2 SWC) was already trailing by 14 points when Lawinger went down and never did recover against the red-hot Hornets, who buried seven 3-pointers in the opening half.
Junior Leigh Drury, who finished with 16 points, and senior Mckenzie Wilson (14 points) each made a pair of triples in the opening quarter as the Hornets (8–14, 6–4 SWC) raced out to a 19–8 lead.
Senior Brooklyn Ewing made a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter to extend the Richland Center lead.
Platteville had a first-round bye when the WIAA Divison 2 playoffs began Tuesday night. The Hillmen will now host either River Valley (5–17) or Nekoosa (15–7) in a regional semifinal Friday night at 7 p.m.
Richland Center 63, Platteville 47
(from Thursday, Feb. 14 @ Platteville)
Platteville 8 12 13 14 — 47
Richland Center 19 13 12 19 — 63
Platteville (18–4, 8–2) — Stephanie Philipps 5, Bailey Cristman 8, Elisa Bilderback 15, Cassie Hamer 9, Holly Kasper 3, Ashley Budden 2, Julia Lawinger 5. Totals — 16 12-22 47.
Richland Center (8–14, 6–4) — Wilson 14, Campbell 5, Ewing 9, Drury 16, Schauf 13, Meeker 4, Schultz 2. Totals — 20 15-24 63.
3-point goals — P: 3 (Cristman 2, Lawinger 1); RC: 8 (Wilson 2, Ewing 3, Drury 2, Schauf 1). Team fouls — P: 20, RC: 22. Fouled out — P: Philipps; RC: Schauf.