Third time is the charm for New Berlin Eisenhower girls
Lions end Pewaukee's season at regional final
Not on New Berlin Eisenhower's watch.
Refusing to incur a third loss to Pewaukee this season, the perennial Division 2 powerhouse girls seized the moment in Saturday's regional final and bounced the highly-ranked Pirates (21-3) from the playoffs.
The Lions advanced to the WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal March 13, knocking off the No. 1 seed, 59-53.
Pewaukee played catch up most of the night but briefly drew even with Eisenhower with 4:39 to play in the game on a field goal by senior Sarah Caccese for a 49-49 tie.
But the Lions quickly regained the lead with a 3-pointer from junior Sydney Cheung 30 seconds later. After a turnover, junior Sammy Kozlowski made good on a 3-pointer of her own, pushing the visitors' lead to 55-49 with 3:45 left.
Sophomore Emalie Hahn sank two free throws in a bonus situation with 35 seconds left for the game's final points.
The Pirates didn't get any closer.
"We had worked on things we knew they would do, and we practiced to our strengths, exposing some of the things we had to," New Berlin Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt said. "In the beginning of the year, we played wide-eyed, but all season, we've showed steady improvement."
Kozlowski was a catalyst for the Lions (18-6), handling the Pewaukee pressure while making smart decisions with the basketball. Under duress late in the third quarter, she requested a timeout pinned in their backcourt.
"At the beginning of the year, I don't think people were aware she's so talented," Schmidt said. "I told a college coach she's the complete package: she plays defense, she's a good offensive player and on top of it, she's got the head to do it."
Pewaukee trailed 32-24 at the half, with sophomore Chelsea Brackmann scoring 18 of Eisenhower's points.
"Brackmann got too many easy things inside tonight," Pewaukee coach Todd Hansen said. "At halftime, we were down eight points and felt most of it was because of what we did or didn't do. I thought we did a much better job in the second half defensively, but we were in a hole."
Brackmann ended up with 20 points for game-high honors. Hahn scored 17 points, and Kozlowski finished the night with 15 points.
Pewaukee got 14 points from sophomore Abby Gerrits, junior Lindsay Wisniewski scored 11 points and freshman MacKenzie Schill had 10 points.
"They beat us twice this season, they're our rivals, and we knew this was going to be tough tonight, but we practiced on some stuff we thought would work and tonight it did," Kozlowski said. "Everyone did their job tonight. Everybody contributed."
Hansen said his team didn't play as well as expected.
"It hurts right now, the kids are devastated," Hansen said. "We weren't on our 'A' game, and they were. Give them credit, they played better."
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