As Platteville’s amazing 2012–13 season has progressed, Hillmen coach Wayne Jentz has given senior point guard Stephanie Philipps more control of on-court decisions.
Jentz’s trust in his senior playmaker was justly rewarded Friday night.
Philipps’ leadership and heads up play led a key 15–2 second-quarter run that turned a close game into a 53–34 Platteville blowout of visiting Lancaster.
During the five-minute stretch turned a slim 14–11 lead into a 27–11 advantage. Philipps started the run with a nice feed to sophomore teammate Cassie Hamer and ended it by calling a pick-and-roll play that resulted in an assisst to senior Elisa Bilderback. In between she scored five straight points of her own on a three-point play and a nice back door cut to the rim.
“Stephanie really does a good job of seeing the floor,” said Jentz. “I call the majority of our specials from the bench, but I have given her more freedom to make those calls on her own. She had a few nice looks to Cassie [Hamer] and Julia [Lawinger] under the hoop and couple to Elisa [Bilderback] on the break. Stephanie is so valuable to this team and her leadership has been immeasurable.”
Lawinger made a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter — including one in the final seconds of the period — as the Hillmen increased their lead to 41–23.
Bilderback scored six of her team-high 16 points in the first 4:26 of the fourth quarter, and Philipps converted another three-point play, as Platteville put together a 10–4 run that pushed the lead to 24.
Bilderback also grabbed a team-high five rebounds in the win. Philipps finished the game with eight points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hamer scored 12 points in the win, and Lawinger added eight points and four boards.
The Hillmen (17–2, 7–1 SWC) can claim the first conference title in program history with a win over visiting Prairie du Chien (10–7, 7–1) Thursday night. Platteville won the Class B state tournament in 1984, but Cuba City won the Southern 8 that season.
Platteville tuned up for Thursday’s showdown by facing top-ranked Cuba City (18–1) Tuesday.
“We are gearing up, getting ready for the tournament to get in that postseason mind set,” said Jentz. “We want to take it one game at a time and not overlook any one opponent. These two games this week will definitely help us prepare.”
The Hillmen will close out the regular season Feb. 21 at Richland Center.
On the injury front, senior guard Laura Donovan has been lost for the season. She underwent surgery to repair the ACL in her right knee on Jan. 30. Donovan originally injured her knee at Lancaster on Jan. 3. A week later she re-injured the knee in a game at Boscobel. On Jan. 29 a tear of the ACL was confirmed by doctors.
Platteville 53, Lancaster 34
(from Friday, Feb. 8 @ Platteville)
Lancaster 9 4 10 11 — 34
Platteville 12 15 4 12 — 53
Lancaster (6–13, 2–7) — Vesperman 4, Galvin 4, Kellly 10, Morgan 3, Polkinghorn 7, Wagner 6. Totals — 12 8-12 34.
Platteville (17–2, 7–1) — Stephanie Philipps 8, Elisa Bilderback 16, Cassie Hamer 9, Ashley Budden 9, Julia Lawinger 8. Totals — 21 9-12 53.
3-point goals — L: 4 (Kelly 2, Morgan 1, Wagner 1); P: 2 (Lawinger 2). Team fouls — L: 13, P: 14. Fouled out — none.