OREGON — Platteville had a veteran team coming off a third regional championship in as many seasons with the experience of last year’s sectional final run.
Marshall started three freshman. Advantage Platteville? Not exactly.
The younger, quicker Cardinals’ high-powered offense and full-court pressure was too much too overcome for coach Brandon Temperly’s bigger, more experienced Hillmen.
Marshall erupted for 78 points, the second-highest total allowed by Platteville this year, in a 78–67 WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal victory Thursday night at Oregon High School.
The Cardinals improved to 24–1 on the season and went on to win Saturday’s D3 Sun Prairie Sectional with a 61–39 victory over Lakeside
Platteville finished the year 20–5 overall.
“Losing stinks,” said Temperly, who is now 48–18 in three year’s as Platteville’s head coach. “Hopefully we will learn from a game like this and continue to improve in the future. We had great school and community support throughout the tournament and the girls took everyone on another great run.”
Platteville sophomore Sami Martin dominated in the paint scoring a game-high 23 points on 10 of 16 shooting, but the balanced Cardinals versatility and balance posed a significant challenge for the Hillmen.
Freshman guard Mia Morel, the Capitol South Player of the Year, controlled the pace of the game, finishing with a team-high 16 points, eight assists and five steals. She started fast breaks with steals, continually broke down Platteville’s interior defense and set up teammates for numerous uncontested layups. She also made six straight free throws in the final 2:40 to put the game away.
“Marshall was able to get out in transition and get some easy baskets,” said Temperly. “They spread the floor well and were able to penetrate our gaps for some easy looks and to their credit, they made shots.”
Platteville took its only lead at 3–2 just 65 seconds into the game on a free throw by sophomore point guard Josie Nies, but the Hillmen committed four turnovers in the first three minutes and the Cardinals took advantage, building an early 14–7 lead.
Freshman Anna Lutz scored after Ceraya Morel grabbed an offensive rebound, then after a Platteville turnover buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Ceraya Morel converted a layup after a Marshall steal, and after a Nies layup, Lutz scored inside to give the Cardinals a 11–5 lead. Then, senior Samira Arvin drilled a 3-pointer to make it 14–7 at the 14:25 mark of the first half, capping Marshall’s 12–2 run.
“We struggled to execute our press break early due to their pressure,” said Temperly. “Once we got to our spots, we were able to break the press fairly easily. They would go on a run, then we would answer and it was back and forth throughout the night. Unfortunately, we could never quite get over the hump to take control.”
Platteville cut the lead to two twice midway through the first half on a putback by senior Skye Digman and a layup by Martin, but Marshall had an answer.
Arvin drilled another triple from the top of the key to ignite a 10–4 run. Back-to-back layups by senior Reonna Huettner pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 28–20.
Senior Rachel Bailie scored consecutive layups for the Hillmen, senior Sami Knockel split a pair of free throws, and Martin scored twice in the paint on nice passes from Digman, as the Hillmen battled back to make it 34–30 with 41 seconds left in the half, but Marshall held for the final shot and freshman Laura Nickel scored just before the horn to make it a six-point game at the half.
The Cardinals began the second half on a 10–4 run thanks to three straight Platteville turnovers. Mia Morel scored on a pair of layups, then assisted on baskets by Huettner, Nickel and Arvin, the made a pair of free throws to give Marshall its biggest lead of the game at 48–36 with 13:06 remaining.
Platteville once again battled back, with Knockel and sophomore Becca Hoyer spurring a 10–2 run.
Knockel scored on a putback. Hoyer answered a Mia Morel layup with a 3-pointer. Knockel’s converted a three-point play, and Hoyer scored on a post up with 10:40 to trim the deficit to 50–46.
Martin scored inside with eight minutes left to make it 52–48, but that’s as close as Platteville could get.
Arvin hit a back-breaking 3-pointer from the left wing, her third of the game to make it 55–48, as the Cardinals were near perfect at the free throw line down the stretch, converting 14 of 18 in the final 4:44 to put the game away.
Mia Morel, who was 8 for 8 at the free throw line in the second half, finished with 16 points, eight assists and four steals to lead Marshall. Huettner added 16 points off the bench, Lutz finished with 15 despite battling foul trouble all night, and Arvin chipped in 14 for the winners.
Martin finished with 23 points and eight rebounds to lead the Hillmen. Hoyer added 13 points, two rebounds and two steals. Digman had 12 points five rebounds and three assists in her final game for Platteville. Nies, the hero of the regional final victory over Dodgeville, had nine points and four assists. Knockel chipped in six point and four rebounds off the bench in her final game, while Bailie closed out her Hillmen career with four points, two steals and two rebounds. Fellow senior Hanna Langmeier also played in her final game.
“We have a great group of seniors that has seen the sectional level thee times,” said Temperly. “Skye Digman, Rachel Bailie, Sami Knockel, and Hanna Langmeier have given a great deal to this program and they should be very proud of that.
“Skye has been a rock for the past three seasons and finished her career with over 900 points and 600 rebounds. Rachel, Sami, and Hanna are also unselfish girls that have great work ethics. It’s always tough to see the seniors wrap up their career but this group has accomplished a lot. We have had back to back 20 (plus) win seasons and the future is bright for Platteville girls basketball. We will need to get better as a group in the off season to take the next step but the 2017-18 Hillmen should be very proud of our season.
WIAA Division 3 Sectional Semifinal
No. 1 Marshall 78, No. 3 Platteville 67
(from Thursday, March 1 @ Oregon)
Platteville 30 37 — 67
Marshall 36 42 — 78
Platteville (20–5) — Josie Nies 9, Rachel Bailie 4, Becca Hoyer 13, Sami Martin 23, Sami Knockel 6, Skye Digman 12. Totals — 26 13-25 67.
Marshall (24–1) — Anna Lutz 15, Mya Andrews 5, Mia Morel 16, Samira Arvin 16, Cereya Morel 4, Emmali Zimmerman 2, Laura Nickel 6. Totals – 30 18-22 78.
3-point goals — P: 2 (Hoyer 1, Digman 1), M: 4 (Lutz 1, Arvin 3). Total fouls — P: 20, M: 20. Fouled out — M: Arvin.