Bay girls lift level of play, claim third WIAA regional title in a row
Take on Pius in sectional Thursday
Whitefish Bay girls basketball team seniors like Madilyn Garcia, Ava Stock, Jamie Talbert, Katie Pavlic, Paige Kerwin and Helena Dziadowicz have known nothing but success in the WIAA tournament series in their careers.
So why shouldn't have the Blue Dukes come back after a flat and way-too-scary effort against Wauwatosa West the night before, to soundly beat a good Wisconsin Lutheran team, 53-30, in a WIAA Division 2 regional final Saturday?
"I think of what these seniors have endured and achieved," Bay coach Greg Capper said. "They have been part of back-to-back-to-back regional championships. They have struggled and they have persevered."
And earned the right to challenge Woodland Conference co-champ Pius XI (21-3) in a WIAA sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Waukesha North.
"That team is small, but fast," Capper said of Pius. "They will come at you and just never stop. This is good for our kids. The greater basketball community knows we can play. For us, though, it will be a matter of executing against a high-pressure defense created by a coach (Scott Herrick) who really knows what he's doing."
If the Blue Dukes (16-8) are successful, then they will earn a berth in a WIAA sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Brookfield Central against the winner of Pewaukee (20-4) and returning state D2 runner-up New Berlin Eisenhower (22-2) for the right to advance to the state D2 tournament.
Bay has advanced to the sectional final against Eisenhower in each of the last two years. The Blue Dukes upset the Lions in 2011 to earn a WIAA state tournament berth, but Eisenhower got some payback against Bay last season.
The Blue Dukes would love the opportunity to do that against Pius. To do that, they'll have to play at the level they did in the middle two quarters against Lutheran (20-4). After taking a sluggish 8-7 advantage at the end of one period, Bay exploded for a 17-4 effort in the second against the Vikings.
They expanded the 25-11 halftime lead to an insurmountable 42-19 by the end of three.
"We shared the ball, found the open person, took the open shot, got on the offensive boards, played good defense and our ball security (only 12 turnovers) was good, too," Capper said. "I couldn't have asked for much more."
Bay got 17 points from an increasingly healthy and active center May Jonas while Abi Harper had 13 and Ashley Reed contributed six rebounds.
The effort was much better than the 27-21 grinder the Blue Dukes had against Tosa West in the regional semifinal the night before.
"Ashley Imperiale (the West coach) is a good young coach," Capper said. "They limited what we could do, and just sometimes when you work with teams, the moment escapes you."
…Every team you do play brings a different kind of style, a different approach. I don't like to think we looked past West."
Harper, Garcia and Stock all had five points for Bay.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Cooperation helped Whitefish Bay softball tourney work despite weather
- Veteran Shorewood netters claim Woodland dual meet crown
- Sports wraps: May 15
- Shorewood thinclads combine for eight firsts in Woodland Outdoor track
- NSC tennis race too close to call as tourney looms this weekend
- Fourth-ranked Bay kickers still looking for that perfect game
- Germantown softball team edges Bay, 1-0, to improve to 11-0 in NSC
- OUR TAKE
- Sports Shorts: May 7
- Everyone pulls together to make 'Sweet 16' tennis tournament work