The Waterford High School girls basketball team found itself minutes away from an upset, thanks to an improbable second half comeback Thursday night in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal against top-seeded Jefferson.
But the Wolverines couldn’t figure out a way to stop Jefferson senior Parker Fetherston at the end.
Fetherston made two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to lead Jefferson to a come-from-behind 39-33 victory at Fort Atkinson High School.
“We did a great job of guarding Fetherston all game and really limited her all throughout, but she hit the shots when they mattered in the end,” said Waterford coach Dena Brechtl.
Fetherston led Jefferson with 13 points, but had just six points in the second half when Waterford rallied from a 17-9 halftime deficit to take a 29-21 lead with 5:46 left in the game.
Maddy Anderson got things going for the Wolverines with two big 3-pointers early and eight of her 13 points in the second half. Katie Rohner, who was held to two points on two free throws in the first half, started making shots in the second half and scored eight of her 10 points.
Kat Fitzgerald made all five of her points in the second half and grabbed a team-leading 13 rebounds.
Waterford, which had won five straight games coming into the sectional, led 33-32 heading down the stretch and had an upset win in its sights.
But Fetherston, who led the Eagles averaging 17.4 points per game, had other plans. She hit a 3-point shot to put Jefferson up 35-33 and the Eagles (24-1), ranked 10th in Division 2 in the final Associated Press state poll, never looked back.
Waterford (10-16) got off to a horrendous start, shooting just seven percent in the first half. Anderson made both shots and Rohner added two free throws.
“It was a really tough first half, by far one of our worst first-half performances all year,” Brechtl said. “We made some adjustments, though, and when we came out in the second half, we looked far more like the team we were down the stretch. We started being more aggressive, we started opening more shots and going to the glass, and we started looking like ourselves.”
Despite the loss, Brechtl believes there is much optimism for next season.
“We said all year that this team could be something else and although it took us 20 games to start really seeing that, there was definitely flashes of it down the stretch,” Brechtl said.
“We’re a very young team, we’re going to have everyone but Anderson back, and for this being her last game of her high school career she definitely went out on a high note with how she played for us tonight. There’s a lot to look forward to, though, for next season and this game will become a great learning experience for our young players.”