After Friday’s Badger North Conference game against Reedsburg, the Beaver Dam prep girls basketball team was celebrating yet another league title by cutting down the net.
The Golden Beavers, who secured a share of the Badger North title with a win over Waunakee on Tuesday, won the title outright with a 79-41 win over Reedsburg on Senior Night — setting off a party to commemorate the 10th year in a row that they’ve either won or shared a conference championship.
“It was a great Senior Night for our kids,” said Beaver Dam coach Tim Chase, who also was celebrating his birthday Friday. “What an amazing night for our seniors. They’ve had such a great career. To get another conference championship — our 10th in a row as a team — I’m glad we sent them out in style in their last home regular-season game.”
This group of Beaver Dam seniors — which includes Paige Schumann, Aly Van Loo, Grace Scharfenberg, Rachel Uhrich, Tara Stauffacher and managers Lanie Roedl and Marisa Boehler — will try to keep the good times rolling in a few weeks when they hope to claim their third straight WIAA Division 2 state title.
“We’ve had a lot of great kids with a lot of great groups come through, but this senior class, to have seven kids give everything they have to the game and really represent Beaver Dam, is what I’m really impressed with,” Chase said. “They’ve done things the right way.”
The five seniors all started but were only able to mount a 7-6 lead through the first 3 minutes of the game.
“We had different players helping in the paint at different times, trying to mix it up a little up,” Reedsburg coach Mark Simon said. “We were making them switch their offense up as much as they can. That’s really our goal is to keep them off balance.
“When they get into a rhythm, really they can put up 15 or 20 points in a hurry.”
That’s exactly what happened, as Van Loo’s putback with 14 minutes, 28 seconds to go in the half started a 13-6 run to give Beaver Dam (20-1, 13-0 Badger North) a 20-12 lead with 8:34 to go.
From there, it snowballed for the Beavers from Reedsburg (15-5, 9-3) as they allowed Beaver Dam’s Natalie Jens to score 11 of her game-high 18 points over the final 8 minutes of the half to help the Golden Beavers — the top-ranked team in Division 2 in both state polls and the No. 10 team in the country according to MaxPreps.com — to a 42-20 lead.
“I thought they got to the basket well and they got some high-percentage shots against us,” Simon said.
Van Loo scored eight of her 14 points in the second half as she was a force in the paint for Beaver Dam. She finished with eight rebounds and seven blocks — just two away from matching the program single-game record of nine set by Briana McCarthy against West Bend West in 2001.
“The goal is to not let her get so deep to the basket,” Simon said. “When you’re shooting shots right at the rim, it’s very easy. To beat Beaver Dam, I think you have to make them a jump-shooting team and hopefully they have a cold night.”
Van Loo’s play in the paint was a big reason why Beaver Dam got into a rhythm in the second half. Her putback just 20 seconds into the half started a 26-4 run to make it 58-24 with 12:04 remaining.
“We want to get the pace of the game going in our direction. Then we can wear teams down,” Chase said. “Our post was pretty perfect in the second half and that’s what Aly did today.”
Beaver Dam’s Maty Wilke finished with 13 points and five rebounds, while Schumann contributed nine points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Reedsburg’s Trenna Cherney led her team with 14 points, while Ava Douglas and Alyssa Straka added eight points apiece.
Reedsburg saw its five-game winning streak come to an end. Simon said his Beavers have been playing some good basketball.
“I feel like we’ve been very efficient offensively,” Simon said. “Beaver Dam is just on a different level.”
Beaver Dam’s seniors, who will finish out the regular season at Mount Horeb on Thursday, hasn’t lost to a team from Wisconsin since losing in the WIAA sectional finals to Green Bay Notre Dame their freshmen season in 2015-16 — and the group has only suffered five losses in four years, with three coming to elite teams from out of state.
“I think Beaver Dam is a team that comes around once every 1,000 years,” Simon said. “They’re a special group.”
BEAVER DAM 79, REEDSBURG 41</&hspag3>
Reedsburg 20 21 — 41
Beaver Dam 42 37 — 79
Reedsburg (41) — Grace Benish 2, Ava Douglas 8, Alyssa Straka 8, Julia Korklewski 5, Trenna Cherney 14, Macie Wieman 4. Totals 15 10-14 41.
Beaver Dam (79) — Natalie Jens 18, Carley Burchardt 3, Grace Scharfenberg 3, Paige Schumann 9, Jada Donaldson 4, Paige Hodgson 5, Rachel Uhrich 2, Maty Wilke 13, Avery Sonewall 2, Tara Stauffacher 6, Aly Van Loo 14. Totals 32 7-8.
3-pointers: R 1 (Korklewski 1), BD 8 (Jens 4, Burchardt 1, Scharfenberg 1, Schumann 1, Hodgson 1). Total fouls: R 10, BD 16. Fouled out: none.