Not many teams have been able to solve the Wisconsin Dells girls basketball team’s defense this season, with only three opponents scoring 50 or more points on the Chiefs.
That number could hit four when the No. 4 seed Chiefs take on high scoring Marshall in a Division 3 state semifinal at 1:35 p.m. on Thursday afternoon at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon. The top-seeded Cardinals (25-1) have steamrolled opponents this season to the tune of 69 points per game, winning by an average of 19.9 points.
Leading the way for Marshall’s offensive onslaught has been a four-pronged attack, headlined by freshman Mia Morel. The 5-foot-7 freshman guard is averaging a team-high 16.8 points per game and has been held to single digits just once. Morel notched a career-high 33 points in the Cardinals 75-55 win over Watertown Luther Prep on Dec. 5 and has scored over 20 points five times.
“She is a very dynamic player and can do just about everything for us,” Marshall coach Alex Koeller said. “She has probably the best vision on the court, as young as she is, that I’ve seen in the short five years I’ve coached.”
Along with Morel, freshmen Anna Lutz and Laura Nickel and senior Samira Arvin are also averaging double-digits. Lutz, a 6-foot forward, is adding 12.5 points per game, while Arvin (5-5, guard) is contributing 11.1 points per contest and Nickel (5-11, forward) is scoring 10.8 points per game.
According to Koeller, despite her diminutive size, Arvin plays like she’s 5-8 and both Lutz nad Nickel are versatile, inside-out players. All three have proven they can go off on any given night, with Lutz notching a career-high 30 points in the Cardinals’ 79-62 win over Poynette in a regional semifinal. Arvin and Nickel have also exploded for season-highs of 24 and 22 points this season.
Wisconsin Dells coach Bob Buss knows that Marshall poses quite a challenge for his Chiefs.
“It’s going to be tough. We’re going to have to get back on defense because it looks like they push the ball, and they’re young, but they have good scorers,” he said. “Like I told them when the tournament started, we’re not going to re-invent the wheel; we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
If the Chiefs are able to get past the Cardinals, things won’t get easier in the championship game where they would face either Amherst (25-1) or Milwaukee Saint Thomas More (21-5).
The second-seeded Falcons, who are riding a 23-game winning streak, are averaging 65.1 points per game. The key behind Amherst’s success has been dominant first halves as the Falcons are outscoring opponents 911-406 over the opening 18 minutes this season.
Aiding the team’s scoring has been an equally dominant defense as Amherst is limiting opponents to just 33.5 points per game.
Leading the way for the Falcons is the duo of senior Heather Pearson and junior Lauren Boelte. Pearson, a 6-foot-1 center, is averaging a team-high 16.7 points per game while Boelte (5-9, forward) is adding 12 points per contest.
Conversely, the third-seeded Cavaliers have averaged 56.4 points per game this season, but have come on strong down the stretch. Saint Thomas More scored at least 60 points in three of their four playoff wins, including in a 63-40 win over previously unbeaten Laconia in a sectional final.
The Cavaliers, who are allowing 42.8 points per game, are led by the duo of seniors Brianna Flayter and Taylor Kirby. Flayter, a 5-foot-9 guard, is averaging a team-high 15.5 points per game while Taylor Kirby (6-1, forward) is adding 12.2 points.