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D3 Semi-Final Notes: Aquinas dominates and Lake Mills holds on

02/26/2021, 4:15pm CST
By Travis Wilson

Fourth-seeded Westfield hung with Aquinas for the first eight minutes of their Division 3 Girls Basketball State Semi-Final at the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh Friday morning, but Aquinas' pressure defense and long-range shooting were too much for the Pioneers, as the Blugolds pulled away for a 69-45 victory.

Aquinas junior Jacy Weisbrod tied a state tournament record, set last year by former teammate Taylor Theusch, with seven made three-point baskets en route to a game-high 31 points, connecting on 12-of-16 shots from the field overall. 20 of those points, and four of the three-pointers, came in the first half.

Both teams started hot from the field, and the Aquinas advantage stood at just 13-11 eight minutes into the game. However, Aquinas' extended half-court pressure began to take its toll on Westfield, forcing turnovers and disrupting the Pioneers' offensive flow. Meanwhile, Aquinas' long-range barrage continued, and the Blugolds outscored Westfield 26-10 over the final ten minutes of the first half to take a 39-21 lead into halftime.

The game was not in doubt the rest of the way, and the Aquinas lead stretched to as many as 31 points on multiple occasions and never dipped below 20 points in the final 17 minutes of the game.

In addition to Weisbrod's 31 points, Aquinas sophomore Macy Donarski added 14 points. Westfield was led by 15 points from sophomore center Brandi Lentz.

This will be the fourth state title game appearance for Aquinas (they also won their first game last year at state before the championships were canceled) and they are going for their third title.

What seemed like a potential runaway Lake Mills victory in a Division 3 Girls Basketball State semi-final became awfully tight, awfully quickly, with Howards Grove even taking a short-lived lead in the second half, but the L-Cats were able to regroup and pull out a 70-60 win to advance to the championship game.

The teams were tied at 11 apiece with 12:29 left in the first half, but Lake Mills dominated the rest of the first half to take a 40-28 advantage into the halftime break.

Lake Mills pushed their lead to 14 points less than 20 seconds into the second half, but Howards Grove would go on a 22-7 run over the next nine minutes, and took a 50-49 lead when Leah Pernitzke scored on a layup with 8:20 left in the game.

Just 30 seconds later, a pair of Lake Mills baskets and what turned out to be a game-ending injury to Pernitzke turned the tide the other direction, as Howards Grove wasn't able to keep the energy and momentum going, as Lake Mills would control the remainder of the game en route to the win.

Jade Pitta, who averaged just six points per game on the year, led Lake Mills with 19 points, while Julianna Wagner added 18 points and Vivian Guerrero chipped in 15. Howards Grove's Mackenzie Holzwart led all scorers with 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting. Maddy Near also had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers.

Lake Mills is making its first-ever state championship appearance.

About the Author

Travis Wilson serves as the General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.

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