REEDSBURG — The top-seeded Reedsburg girls basketball team used a scorching hot start to put second-seeded Waupun in catch-up mode and the Warriors were never able to reel in the Beavers, as Reedsburg rolled to a 55-34 victory in a Division 2 regional championship game at Reedsburg High School on Saturday night.
Reedsburg (17-1) scored the game’s first 10 points and was leading 23-4 just 8 minutes into the contest. It was an impressive opening flurry that was led by junior Trenna Cherney and freshman Sydney Cherney. Trenna Cherney scored 10 of her 14 points during the opening stretch, including a 3-pointer from the right corner that gave the Beavers a 16-2 lead with 11:50 left in the opening half. Sydney Cherney had seven of her game-high 15 points in the first 8 minutes, including a pair of layups that made it 21-4 with 9:00 left in the half.
Reedsburg coach Mark Simon said his team’s quick start allowed it to relax.
“You got to defend, and you got to rebound, and oftentimes that leads to offense,” Simon said. “It was exactly what we wanted to happen to calm the nerves a little bit, to get off to that great start, and we were able to do that.”
The poor start for Waupun (18-4) was exactly what it didn’t want to happen. The Warriors struggled to hit shots out of the gate and didn’t score until junior Abbie Aalsma hit a runner that made it 10-2 with 14:00 left in the half.
Waupun coach Tim Aalsma said Reedsburg’s strength was something it hadn’t seen this season.
“We haven’t seen that intensity and that physicality that they played with for quite awhile,” Tim Aalsma said. “When you have it a little bit easier in the beginning part of the schedule and then you go into that regional competition, and in this case, you just start to see where the weight room really is essential to taking that next step.”
Despite the terrible start, Waupun was able to make a run. After trailing by as many as 19 in the first half, Waupun closed to within nine when senior McKenna Cunningham, who finished with a team-high 12 points, hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it 25-16 with 2:50 left in the half.
Waupun’s momentum was short lived, as Reedsburg closed the half on a 5-0 run, including a 3-pointer by junior Macie Wieman just before the first-half buzzer that sent the Beavers to the locker room with a 30-16 lead.
Simon said Macie Wieman’s overall play, including the 3-pointer at the end of the first half, was a key part to the victory.
“When Cunningham hit that second 3 for them, that was a momentum shift, then at the end of the half, Macie hitting the big 3 (was big),” Simon said. “Macie was really good for us tonight. She’s our floor general and just makes everything go. Not only her defense, but moving the ball side to side, inside and out, she’s as valuable as any player on our team. And she made a few 3s tonight, which helped too.”
Waupun was never able to make a serious run in the second half as the Beavers pulled away from the free throw line. Reedsburg made 18 of 25 free throws overall, and was 8 of 10 from the stripe in the second half. Waupun on the other hand, shot just two free throws all night.
Simon said the foul discrepancy was the result of his team attacking the basket on offense, and making sure Abbie Aalsma and freshman Kayl Petersen didn’t get to the free throw line. Neither player shot a single free throw. Abbie Aalsma finished with 10 points and Petersen had four, both about 10 points below their season average.
“We knew that Aalsma and Petersen shoot 80 or 90 percent on free throws, so we wanted to go straight up and make them finish there without fouling and make them hit a tough shot,” Simon said. “The job that Sydney Cherney and Macie Wieman did on those two kids was just phenomenal.”
REEDSBURG 55, WAUPUN 34
Waupun 16 18 — 34
Reedsburg 30 25 — 55
WAUPUN (fg ft-fta pts) — Cunningham 4 2-2 12; A. Aalsma 5 0-0 10; Theune 2 0-0 4; Matamoras 1 0-0 2; Gopalan 1 0-0 2; Petersen 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 2-2 34.
REEDSBURG — T. Cherney 4 5-6 14; S. Cherney 4 7-10 15; Mac. Wieman 2 0-0 6; Dietz 1 2-4 4; Mah. Wieman 3 4-4 10; Benish 3 0-0 6. Totals 17 18-25 55.