New London's Mickey Roland (40) and teammates saw the Bulldogs' 68-game winning streak end in a 48-47 loss to New Berlin Eisenhower in Friday's WIAA Division 2 state girls basketball semifinal game at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media
The state’s two longest winning streaks for girls basketball ended on the Resch Center court Friday.
Two-time defending WIAA Division 2 state champion New London saw its 68-game winning streak end with a 48-47 loss to New Berlin Eisenhower in the state semifinals only hours after East Troy topped Neillsville 68-56 in a D3 semifinal to end the Warriors’ 54-game streak.
Kewaunee and Division 1 state qualifier Milwaukee Riverside now assume control of the state’s longest active streak. The Storm, whose run is at 22 games dating to Dec. 13, 2012, will put that honor on the line when it squares off with East Troy for the D3 state championship today.
New London’s streak, which started following a loss at Luxemburg-Casco on Jan. 28, 2011, spanned two head coaches. Troy Krause stepped down last season after guiding the Bulldogs to back-to-back D2 crowns.
During the offseason, the job was awarded to one of Krause's former players, Andrea Flease, who started on the Bulldogs’ first two state-qualifying teams in 2006 and 2007.
The streak came with some pressure, but Flease doesn’t believe it’s what led to the Bulldogs downfall Friday.
“I honestly don’t think that streak had anything to do with what happened tonight,” Flease said. “We lost that game because we didn’t make the play when we needed to.”
Milwaukee Riverside's victory Friday night over Superior tied Kewaunee for the longest current winning streak.
De Pere’s streak was 44 before it lost 50-45 to Kimberly in this season’s D1 sectional semifinals.
The Brown Bombers
Kewaunee’s opponent in today’s WIAA Division 3 state final, East Troy, made a record 11 3-pointers Friday against Neillsville, including 6 in the decisive second half.
“I know I’ve got the best shooters around,” East Troy coach Jeff Brown said. “We have a local radio station that nicknamed us the ‘Brown Bombers.’
“I’m not sure they know who the Brown Bomber is, but we’re kind of like that. Rachel has a green light all the time.”
The Trojans’ two best gunners both shot around 40 percent from 3-point land during the season – Rachel Atchison made 82 of 211 and Breanna Gaspervich hit 51 of 127. By comparison, Kewaunee’s best 3-point shooter was Jill Kleiman, who made 35 during the season at a 34-percent rate.
“They’re difficult to defend,” said Neillsville coach John Gaier. “But they don’t only shoot 3s, they penetrate, too.”
Tough decision for Borseth
Kevin Borseth didn’t attend the Green Bay Notre Dame team’s semifinal at the Resch Center on Friday afternoon.
Although the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball coach would have liked to watch his twin daughters, Kayla and Carli, and the Tritons in their game against Milton, there was a scheduling conflict due to the Phoenix’s shoot-around prior to Friday night’s Horizon League Tournament semifinal game at 7:30 p.m.
A father of five, Borseth and his family returned to the area this past year after coaching the Phoenix from 1998-2007. He spent the next five years at the University of Michigan before coming back when Matt Bollant accepted the Illinois coaching post.
Both sophomores, Borseth’s twins played mostly on junior varsity this season and saw limited minutes with the varsity.
“I'm excited for them,” said Borseth, who made a quick stop to the Resch earlier Friday. “They get a chance to compete on the big stage. They get a chance to see what it's like, because it's pretty special here for them.”
Of course, Borseth will have another chance: The Tritons advanced to today’s state championship game.
Who had the better line?
When it comes to dominating the court, East Troy’s Breanna Gaspervich and Neillsville’s Jennifer Lindner showed how it’s done.
Lindner, a smooth 5-11 junior guard, had 22 first-half points as the Warriors took a 32-28 lead into halftime. She barely missed a shot in the first half, making 4 of 6 field goals (including both her 3-point attempts) and 12 of 13 free throws. She added 3 rebounds and 2 steals in the half.
But Gaspervich, the quickest player on the court as a 5-6 senior guard, took over when it counted most.
Not only did Gaspervich’s defense help keep Lindner scoreless in the third quarter, her 3-pointer with 4:7 left in the third quarter gave East Troy a 36-34 lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.
Her second-half line: 20 points, on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.
“I just felt like I could do it,” Gaspervich said. “I had a fire in me.”
Said Lindner of East Troy’s second-half adjustments: “When they went to a zone, we didn’t move the ball very well and we didn’t get as many offensive rebounds as we should have because they were so small. But they were everywhere; they’re quick.”
The two-day attendance total at the Resch Center is 24,596,compared with 20,213 through two days at the Kohl Center in Madison last year.
The attendance on Friday at the Resch was 16,156 for three sessions, compared with 13,971 for Friday’s games in Madison last year.
Friday's Division 3 morning session attracted 5,193, the afternoon Division 2 session drew 6,777 and the evening Division 1 session attracted 4,186.
Last year’s total attendance in Madison was 30,353.