Player of the day: Algoma’s Anna Dier. The 5-foot-11 freshman broke the Division 4 tournament record for field-goal percentage, hitting nine of her 10 shots in an 18-point performance in a 62-39 victory over Cuba City in a WIAA state semifinal. She broke the mark of .875 set by Monticello’s Mindy Rosenstiel vs. Lena in 1991.
Play of the day: Maggie Oimoen’s basket with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left in Barneveld’s 54-45 victory over South Shore. The Cardinals had trimmed Barneveld’s 15-point lead to five when the 6-foot sophomore took a pass at the right elbow and made a strong move to the basket for a layup. It was the last field goal for the Eagles, who held South Shore scoreless over the final 2 minutes, 46 seconds.
Game of the day: Without a doubt, the best game was saved for last with Colfax’s 42-41 win over Racine Prairie School in a Division 4 semifinal. The Vikings led by as many as eight points during the third quarter only to have Prairie School rally to take a 39-37 lead on a Gabby Ortiz jumper with 3:47 to play. Colfax was 5-for-8 in free throws in the final 2:44 to win it.
Stat of the day: Barneveld held a 15-0 advantage in scoring off the bench. Oimoen and Samantha Evans each had six points and Kristen Udelhofen hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first half to give the Eagles plenty in reserve. South Shore only used one bench player until the final minute.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Racine Prairie School’s Gabby Ortiz and you should know that — despite playing games all over the country almost every month of the year — it hurt the Hawks’ junior to lose 42-41 to Colfax in a Division 4 state semifinal.
Ortiz was held to 15 points on 6-for-23 shooting. She was 2-for-12 from beyond the arc and missed three of the four free throws she shot, including the front end of a bonus with 15 seconds left with her team down 41-39.
“I know she’s not pleased with her performance,” Racine Prairie coach Melody Owsley said of her 5-7 junior. “But you know what? Even the best players in the world have tough nights. You could just see the way Gabby Ortiz handles the ball, the way that she’s in control out there, she’s got game.”
College coaches know it, too. They have been actively recruiting Ortiz since she was a freshman and, with one year of high school left, the process is about to hit the home stretch.
Ortiz has already made unofficial visits to Purdue, Vanderbilt, Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Marquette and Iowa. She also plans visits in the near future to Louisville and Boston College but didn’t rule out expanding her options.
“I’m taking this process pretty slowly,” Ortiz told the Racine Journal Times earlier this week. “Obviously you don’t want to go to the wrong place.”
After Thursday’s loss, Ortiz elaborated on her timetable for making a decision: “AAU is starting now. Sometime in the summer or right before senior year, I’ll decide.”
A DAY OF FIRSTS
Thursday marked the first time a WIAA state girls basketball tournament game was played outside of Madison in its 38-year history. The move to the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon brought with it a series of first on opening day. Among them:
First basket: Wausau Newman’s Brianna Jankowski, a senior guard who scored on a putback 30 seconds into the Cardinals’ Division 5 semifinal with Wisconsin Rapids Assumption.
First shot: Assumption’s Mary Ziegler, who missed a jumper on the Royals’ first possession.
First 3-pointer made: Assumption’s Macie Zurfluh, a freshman who connected with 2:26 left in the first.
First victory: Assumption, which beat its Marawood South Conference rival 60-37 in the first Division 5 semifinal. It was also the Royals’ first WIAA state tournament win in two tries.
First loss: Wausau Newman lost in the Division 5 semifinals for the second year in a row after winning back-to-back state championships in 2010 (Division 4) and 2011 (Division 5).
First double-double: Assumption’s Sigler, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Royals’ victory.
Change of venue, not approach: Cuba City coach Jeff Pustina joined the ranks of state coaches working in the fourth different venue for a WIAA state tournament, but he made it clear there was nothing about the Resch Center that led to his team’s defeat.
“We talk a lot about playing between the lines wherever we play,” Pustina said. “We played in a lot of different venues this year. I don’t know if it felt any different. I definitely know it was a (94-foot) college court with the way Algoma got up-and-down (it).”
Taking attendance: Day 1 attendance at the Resch Center was up considerably over opening day a year ago at the Kohl Center. There were 3,617 fans for the Division 5 semifinals and 4,823 on hand for the Division 4 semifinals. The 8,440 total was up 2,198 over Day 1 a year ago.
Barneveld coach Jim Myers, on coaching his 13th WIAA state tournament game some place other than Madison: “It kind of feels like an AAU tournament. You know, you get in a car and go someplace to play. But once we got up here, the hotel was excellent and they really put out the welcome mat for us to come in. It was fun in here today. I was pleased.”