Bay girls fought through injury and found heart in 16-9 season
Dukes won third straight regional title
The deck was stacked against the idea of success for the Whitefish Bay girls basketball team going into the season, as the projected point guard did not come out and returning NOW All-Suburban center Maya Jonas was set to lose a good chunk of the season with a knee injury.
But the Blue Dukes did not falter and did not shrivel in the face of adversity as they fought back behind a stiff-spined senior class, and a fast-recovering Jonas to finish in a tie for second in the North Shore Conference, win its third WIAA regional title in a row and record a solid 16-9 overall mark.
"I really think that they overachieved," coach Greg Capper said. "They went beyond outsiders' expectations by assuming new roles and different positions, which is something they did admirably.
"There was a real willingness to get things done. We kept asking the question: 'How do we do this?' "
The Blue Duke season ended with a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal defeat at the hands of Woodland Conference co-champ Pius XI. Bay had won five in a row and seven of eight heading into that Pius contest.
"We were a collection of parts and so we had to do this together," Capper said. "They hade a common goal of winning, to be competitive. This group couldn't have done it without each other."
Jonas, despite playing in only 13 games, with an enormous brace on her leg, still averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Her mobility improved every game of her return and she hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against Germantown in one of her first contests back.
"I firmly believed that when she's fully healthy next year that she will be a candidate for Ms. Basketball in Wisconsin," Capper said. "Her defense, the way she can finish with either hand, her rebounding. She's just such a complete player."
For her efforts, Jonas earned second-team all-league honors.
Senior guard Ava Stock was a steady hand before and after Jonas' return, earning second-team all-league honors after averaging 8.1 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. She also hit a team-high 16 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Ashley Reed claimed honorable mention all-league after a season of 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds a game and senior guard Jamie Talbert was also honorable mention (5.2 ppg).
Junior forward Abi Harper tossed in 5.5 ppg.
The senior class includes Maddie Garcia, Stock, Talbert, Katie Pavlic, Paige Kerwin and Helena Dziadowicz and can be proud of itself in many ways, Capper said.
And Capper also has more reasons to be encouraged going into the next season as he will also bring up players from a junior varsity that posted a sound winning record and a freshman team that lost only one game all winter.
"Our key will be like it always is," he said. "Figuring out the toughness that we need to compete."
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