Cameron’s Holly Winiarczyk battles for rebound between Regis’ Kayla Neff and Hannah Anderson.
WIAA GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE TOURNAMENT (Resch Center, Green Bay)
THURSDAY Division 5 semifinals 1:35 p.m.: Wisconsin Rapids Assumption (25-2) vs. Brookfield Heritage Christian (20-4) 3:15 p.m.: Owen-Withee (22-5) vs. Barneveld (26-0) Division 4 semifinals 6:35 p.m.: Algoma (24-2) vs. Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs (22-3) 8:15 p.m.: Eau Claire Regis (21-5) vs. Cuba City (25-1)
FRIDAY Division 3 semifinals 9:05 a.m.: Oconto Falls (22-3) vs. Kettle Moraine Lutheran (25-1) 10:45 a.m.: Neillsville (26-0) vs. Brodhead (25-0) Division 2 semifinals 1:35 p.m.: Green Bay Notre Dame (25-1) vs. Milwaukee Piux XI (24-2) 3:15 p.m.: La Crosse Central (21-5) vs. DeForest (25-1) Division 1 semifinals 6:35 p.m.: Kimberly (26-0) vs. Oak Creek (24-2) 8:15 p.m.: Superior (23-3) vs. Mukwonago (20-6)
Photo by Steve Kinderman Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
Cameron got a game closer to the state girls' basketball tournament and, in fact, was one strong quarter away from reaching state for the first time ever. But Eau Claire Regis played that strong fourth quarter Saturday, holding off the Comets with free throws to win the Division 4 sectional championship, 69-53, at Chippewa Falls. Regis (21-5) entered the fourth quarter ahead 41-38. Despite the Ramblers 9-2 run to open the fourth, Cameron stayed within striking distance until forced to foul in the final minutes. Regis went 12 of 13 from the line to wrap up its fifth trip to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Resch Center in Green Bay. Cameron's season ends at 22-5, and one tournament game better than last year when the Comets lost in the sectional semifinal. "I thought we played a very competitive game, the best we could that day," said Cameron coach Tom Moon. "Regis has put together a very nice team, and they were better on Saturday." The Comets started four juniors and one sophomore in the sectional title game. Though Cameron was turned away from its first state trip, the Comet girls were the first basketball team in school history to reach the sectional title game, said Moon. "It's a great bunch of kids, and a season of improvement," said Moon. It appeared the Comets were inching toward the sectional title early in Saturday's game, staying nearly even with Regis but getting the Ramblers in foul trouble. Four Regis starters had two fouls each in the first half, but the Ramblers held three-point leads of 17-14 after one quarter and 28-25 at the half. By game's end, no Ramblers had fouled out. Both teams scored 13 points in the third quarter as Regis posted another three-point lead at the end of three. Cameron got seven points in the third quarter from junior McKenzie Otto while the Ramblers zeroed in on Cameron's leading scorer, junior Chloe Wanink, averaging 27 points per game. Wanink was held to 10 points as the Regis played a box and one defense on the sharpshooter, with senior Kristin Mathiowetz drawing the shadow assignment. Otto finished with 17 points, while Cameron's inside game got 12 points from Ashlee Bayer and 10 from Hannah Bailey, both juniors. The Comets went 11 of 19 from the line after starting the game with six straight made free throws. Regis, which started two seniors, one junior and two sophomores, got 28 points from sophomore Shae Brey and 20 from senior Amanda Giguere. The 6-foot Brey scored 19 of her points in the second half. Regis went 17 of 20 from the free-throw line for a strong 85%. Cameron had only two seniors on its tournament roster. Besides Olson, the other senior, Abby Jaeger, saw action in the fourth quarter of the sectional title game. Also playing Saturday were juniors Holly Winiarczyk, McKenna Sevals and Ellie O'Flanagan, and sophomores Kelly Ferris and Gabrielle Engel. Cameron reached the sectional title game with last Thursday's 69-54 semifinal win over Athens at Amery. Wanink scored 27 points to lead the Comets. Otto and Bailey scored 13 points each, and Bayer added nine and Sevals five. The Comets started early in the 15-point win, leading 20-12 after one quarter and 36-23 at halftime. For Athens (17-6), junior point guard Kynkaide Diedrich scored 16 points.