Appleton North put on a clinic of offensive execution in the second half to blow open a close game and cruise home to a 75-52 win over Milwaukee King in a Division 1 state semi-final.
Both teams entered the contest undefeated, and it it showed in the first half, when the lead changed hands eight times in back-and-forth action. North held a one-point lead at the break, but quickly extended it in the second half on a 3-pointer by Kari Brekke 14 seconds into the period. The lead would swell to as many as nine points, but King battled back to pull within 48-45 with 10:46 left in the game.
It was at that point that North flipped the switch. Callie Pohlman made a layup with 9:29 left to make it 50-45, starting a stretch of 19 straight possessions that ended in either points or free throws. The run wasn't ended until the Lightning got a steal with 1 second left on the clock. North scored 27 points over those final 19 possessions, while King struggled offensively.
Five players reached double-figures for Appleton North, led by Sydney Levy's 19. Brekke chipped in with 14, while Paige Schabo and Callie Pohlman each scored 12. Anna Laux came off the bench to score 10.
Sophomore Sydnee Roby was a monster inside for King, scoring 17 points with 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Jada Patterson and Tishara Morehouse added 11 points for the Generals.
Appleton North is making its first trip to the state finals since 1999 and is in search of its first girls basketball title.
The teams struggled on offense much of the game, but the end was full of excitement as De Pere outlasted Middleton 49-47 in overtime of a Division 1 Girls Basketball state semi-final.
Both teams struggled to get anything going early on, especially Middleton, who came in averaging 73 points per game on the season. The Cardinals made just 5 of 24 shots in the first half (20.8%), going 0-7 on three-point attempts. However, De Pere wasn't a lot better, shooting just 34.6% in the first half to allow the Cardinals to remain within reach at 20-13 at halftime.
Things finally started to open up in the second half, as a 5-0 run by Middleton got the Cardinals within one point at the 12:52 mark. Neither team would lead by more than three points the rest of regulation, as Middleton's Bria Lemirande forced overtime by making one of two free throws with 10 seconds remaining.
Middleton went up by four points a minute into the extra period, but De Pere lived at the free throw line the rest of the way, making eight of 10 foul shots in overtime.
The final freebie from Olivia DeCleene put De Pere up by two points, and they held on to win, despite a pair of solid looks by Middleton in the final ten seconds.
Annie Schroeder led De Pere with 13 points, while DeCleene added 11. The Lemirande triplets led the way for Middleton, as Brian had a team-high 13 points to go with 15 rebounds, while Alyssa had 10 points and Carlee added 8.
Attendance for the Friday night Division 1 session was 6,749.