WIAA state girls basketball: Barneveld denied third straight Division 5 title

WIAA state girls basketball: Barneveld denied third straight Division 5 title

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ASHWAUBENON — Only 50 seconds remained to play Saturday afternoon at the Resch Center as Barneveld senior Hannah Whitish made her way to the bench.

Whitish — her stellar high school career completed — stopped and embraced Golden Eagles coach Doug Pickarts, then followed in line with hugs for her teammates. The longest embrace was shared between Whitish and her cousin, Mia Whitish — tears streaming down their faces.

For two-time WIAA Division 5 defending champion Barneveld, the tears weren’t of joy this time, but disappointment.

Wisconsin Rapids Assumption prevented top-ranked and previously undefeated Barneveld from a third consecutive title, earning a 62-45 victory in the Division 5 girls basketball championship game.

Hannah Whitish — a Nebraska commit who was named Miss Basketball — scored a game-high 24 points. But the Royals (25-4) had too much size for Barneveld (28-1). Gena Grundhoffer, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, scored 20 points and 6-2 senior center Olivia Skibba had 18 points for Assumption.

“We knew going into the season our Achilles’ heel was our size,” Pickarts said. “I told the girls in the locker room that I don’t think we lost that game. I think Assumption just won. They beat us inside. Our girls busted their tails inside to do everything they could to counter that. And, sometimes, size prevails.”

It was the fourth consecutive time the teams met in the state final. Assumption won the 2013 crown, while Barneveld took home the gold ball in 2014 and 2015. That rivalry and her teammates will be lasting memories for Hannah Whitish.

“I think it’s going to be the girls I played with because you look at the two silver balls and the two gold balls and you look at those teams and how the chemistry was so great and how we played together to get those balls,” she said.

Assumption won its final 12 games after losing to Barneveld 49-40 on Feb. 6 in Wisconsin Dells. The Eagles rallied to win that game, and talked about that Saturday, but they couldn’t come back this time.

“Things just weren’t going our way,” said Mia Whitish, a junior forward who scored 10 points. “Credit to Assumption. They did a lot of good things.”

Pickarts said the Eagles were able to pressure the Royals’ guards and force turnovers in the first meeting in February, but Assumption only had five turnovers Saturday. “They were a little more patient this time,” Pickarts said.

Assumption led by as many as eight points in the first half, then scored the first seven points of the second half for a 34-22 lead.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Royals coach Joe Birkhauser said about winning the title. “The kids stuck to the game plan the entire time and executed it.”

Grundhoffer, a Lehigh recruit who scored a Division 5 single-game record 35 points against Fall River on Friday, and Skibba combined for 16 points in leading the Royals to a 27-22 halftime lead.

Pickarts said he thought the Eagles were in decent shape trailing only by five at halftime. But senior guard Autumn Linzmeier scored the first five points of the second half, including hitting a 3-pointer, as the Royals built a 12-point advantage immediately after halftime.

Hannah Whitish sank a 3-pointer, bringing the Eagles within 34-25 with 15 minutes, 29 seconds remaining. But Barneveld — which shot 39.1 percent from the field overall — got no closer. Hannah Whitish was 10-for-19 from the field, the rest of the team was 8-for-27.

“In my 27 years as being a varsity coach, I haven’t coached a team that shoots the ball as well we do,” Pickart said. “I didn’t think yesterday or today that we shot extremely well.

BARNEVELD

min fg-a ft-a rb pf a to pts

Fargo 31 0-4 0-0 7 4 2 2 0

Pickarts 31 2-6 0-0 4 1 0 1 4

H.Whitish 34 10-19 3-4 4 4 2 7 24

M.Whitish 30 3-8 3-5 6 1 2 0 10

Schave 27 2-6 0-0 3 1 1 1 5

Sutter 4 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0

Walker 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Bahr 1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 0

Skaife 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Murphy 1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0

Cannoy 15 0-2 0-0 2 0 0 3 0

Malin 1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 2

H.-Weier 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 18-46 6-9 29 12 8 14 45

WISCONSIN RAPIDS ASSUMPTION

min fg-a ft-a rb pf a to pts

Krings 30 2-6 0-2 2 1 4 0 5

A.Linzmier 21 3-6 0-0 2 5 2 0 7

Zurfluh 35 4-10 2-2 6 1 2 3 10

Grndhofer 35 6-10 8-8 6 1 2 1 20

Skibba 32 9-13 0-0 6 3 1 0 18

Wagner 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Wendels 20 0-5 2-4 3 1 2 0 2

Preuss 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Bushman 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

C.Linzmier 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Sullivan 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0

Crowns 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Kaminski 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Frisch 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 24-50 12-16 28 12 13 5 62

Team totals include rebounds and turnovers

Barneveld 22 23 — 45 Assumption 27 35 — 62

3-pointers — B 3-13 (M. Whitish 1-2, Schave 1-3, H. Whitish 1-4, Fargo 0-1, Pickarts 0-3), A — 2-5 (A. Linzmeier 1-1, Krings 1-3, Grundhoffer 0-1). Steals — B 3 (Schave 2, Malin 1), A — 10 (Krings 3, A. Linzmeier 3, Zurflush 2, Grundhoffer 2). Blocks — B 4 (H. Whitish 2, Fargo 1, Pickarts 1), A — 0. Field goal percentage — B .391, A .480. Free throw percentage — B .667, A .750.

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