Regional run ends in first round for Lady Hilltoppers
By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — It was an emotional night last Tuesday, February 26 for the Glenwood City girls’ basketball after losing to the Turtle Lake Lakers 40-34 in the first round of Regionals.
The Lakers, who finished their season 4-8 in the Lakeland-Central Conference, proved to be the victors after a fourth quarter battle.
In the previous three quarters the Toppers held a slight lead over the Lakers with the score at 6-4 after the first and 14-12 going into the half time break. Too many turnovers in the third quarter brought the Lakers to their first lead of the game after posting 16 points compared to the Toppers ten.
It was a three point shot at the buzzer by Taylor Schneider that put the Lakers ahead 28-24 going into the final eight minutes.
More turnovers by the Toppers in the beginning of the fourth quarter pushed the score gap by ten points. The Toppers tried several attempts at driving the ball down the court, but were shut down just short of the hoop after the ball was striped.
With under five minutes left to play, the Toppers were fierce in their game as they gained control of the ball and charged the net, collecting fouls and enough points to bring the game to within one point with the score at 35-34 with just over a minute on the clock.
After taking a block under the net, Jen Kopacz was fouled and drained both shots and an earlier three point basket by Morgan Kadinger brought the Toppers to that one point deficit.
The Toppers then got the ball back after it was knocked out of bounds by a Laker, however a foul was called on the Toppers and with the clock running under a minute, the Lakers’ lead grew to 37-34.
Additional fouls increased the Lakers score and eventually they ended with the ball in their hands as the clocked ticked down to zero for the victory.
“I thought the girls played hard, but unfortunately we had one of our worst shooting nights of the season. We had a lot of good looks, but the ball just didnt want to go in the basket. Turtle Lake on the other hand shot very well,” said coach Justin Kuehndorf.
Leading in points for the Hilltoppers were seniors Kelsie Knops with nine and Kopacz and Olivia Weidling each had seven. Knops had two triples, a deuce and a free throw. Kopacz and Weidling each had two deuces and three free throws.
Also scoring were Moriah Kuehndorf with six points from three deuces and Kadinger with five points from one deuce and the trey in the fourth quarter.
Kopacz finished her high school basketball career as the Hilltopper’s points leader with a 9.7 points per game average. Fellow senior Janessa Ullom led the team in rebounds with a 5.2 average; both according to Wisconsin Sports Network statistics.
“Overall with having a couple players missing a fair amount of the season due to injuries and battling through that they were able to have a winning season and post the best record we have had since 2005-2006, which they should be proud of, said coach Kuehndorf, I was proud of how our seniors played and also the message they sent to our underclassmen after the loss.”