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Eisenhower uses 22-0 run, great defense to beat Bay

Lions beat only team to beat them in last 33 games

March 17, 2012

New Berlin Eisenhower overcame a terrible start and came back to crush Whitefish Bay, 48-23, to win the Waukesha South sectional championship and advance to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament next weekend.

The Lions (26-0) have now won 32 of their last 33 games, defeating the Blue Dukes (21-5). Bay upset them last year in the sectional title game, 44-42, preventing them from defending their 2009-10 state title.

“This meant the world to us," said senior star Nicole Bauman, who was named Wisconsin's Miss Basketball' following the awards presentation. "Everyone was talking beforehand, we can’t let what happened to us last year happen this year. We had to work twice as hard."

Bay came out relaxed, and the Lions were pressing. Ike coach Gary Schmidt called timeout with 4:40 on the clock in the first period with his team trailing, 8-0. After Elisabeth Johnston passed to Maya Jonas for an easy basket and a 10-0 lead, Bay increased the lead to 15-7 when Lindsey Agnew scored with 22 seconds left in the quarter. But Nicole Bauman hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds on the clock to cut the lead to 15-10.

What the Blue Dukes didn't realize at the time was, Agnew's shot would be their last score until 4:29 rema in the third quarter. Bauman's 3-pointer to end the quarter started a 22-0 run which ended when Bauman hit 1-of-2 free throws to start the second half.

Johnston hit a jumper at the 4:29 mark to stop the Lions' run, but Ike just started a new one, closing out the third quarter with an 11-2 run. First Jessa Hahn hit a long 3-pointer, then Kristen Hesselbach stole the ball and scored and Weiland sank 1-of-2 free throws. Erin Ganzke scored on a drive, Ava Stock scored on a drive for Bay and then Bauman's finished it off with another 3-pointer for a 40-19 lead going into the final quarter.

"Their on-the-ball defense is excellent," an admiring Bay coach Greg Capper said. "You struggle to move ball when it's in your hands. Their off-ball defense, especially on any dribble penetration, takes any kind of quick hits to the basket. You might settle for 15-foot jump shots. Again that's good basketball girls and boys. I enjoyed - as much as I could - watching them play defense."

Bauman had 19 points, the amazing Hesselbach had eight points and countless steals and Weiland added seven. Johnston had seven and talented sophomore Maya Jonas, who hurt her nose in the second quarter, had six, as the Lions defense was outstanding.

Hesselbach and Ganzke, two of Ike's unsung players, played a key role.

"Kristin and Erin picked us right up and that sparked us right there," Bauman said about the big run."

Ganzke said "Kristin brings a lot of energy and when we're not playing well, she gets us going."

Hesselbach returned the compliment.

"Erin always knows where to cut, when to pass the ball. She finds those gaps and holes underneath the basket. It helps spread it out and she becomes a threat inside as well as outside."

Coach Gary Schmidt was all smiles afterwards.

"We had to go out and take care of business," he said. "I told the kids before the game – they (Bay) are sectional champs. We wanted to take it from them today and bring it back to Eisenhower."

Eisenhower will wait until tonight to see who their opponent will be next Friday at 3:15 p.m. at the Kohl Center as Reedsburg Area (22-3) and Whitewater (23-2) play tonight at 7 p.m. 

"I remember the first time at state," Schmidt recalled. "To go take the team and win it, I was so blssed. Now we get to go up with a different group of kids. I'm so happy."

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