Wildcats on their way to State

By: 
Josh Staloch, Mike Wieting

ANTIGO – The Lena girls are Division 5 Sectional Champions and on their way to the State Tournament for the first time since 1991 following their 66-57 victory over Pittsville on Saturday, March 2. 

The Wildcat girls last State appearance occurred back in 1991, where they were handed a 56-66 loss to Monticello in the State Championship game. During that season the Wildcats were 21-6 under the tutelage of coach Kris Young. The year before that in 1990 Lena dropped out in State Semi-Final to Oostburg 40-56

But the last time Lena brought home the title was in 1980. That year they won a State Championship again under the leadership of coach Kris Young. Bagging the trophy with a 70-34 victory in the final over Oakfield. That team finished their season 26-0.

“I’m just so excited for these girls. They worked so hard, they really deserve it,” said Wildcats head coach Tim Goldschmidt of his team’s effort this season. “One more week of practice and we’re going to the Resch! They’re fighters, they don’t give up. It makes my job easy.”

Lena had to overcome a slow start to notch this win as the Panthers jumped out to a 7-2 lead before the Wildcats came alive and made it competitive. From there, it was back-and-forth until Lena took control of the game’s momentum on a three pointer from Madilyn Thomson to make it 20-15 Wildcats, prompting Pittsfield to call a timeout. 

The two teams remained close for the rest of the first half to hit the locker room with Lena up 27-22.

Kali Fischer set the tone for the second half by draining a three pointer to get things going, followed by a bucket from Eva Brooks to give the Wildcats a 10-point edge at 32-22.

Lena would put Pittsfield further on its heels shortly after that as Whitney Potter hit a clutch three-pointer to put the Lena fans in attendance on their feet and force the Panthers to burn another timeout. 

From there, it was all Wildcats. Madilyn Thomson, who has a tremendous season for the Wildcats after making a full recovery from a torn ACL last year, came up with a steal at the nine-minute mark of the game and made an aggressive drive to the basket, finishing strong for a 53-35 Lena lead. She did it again moments later, scoring down low while getting fouled for a three-point play to put the game out of reach at 56-35.

“We spent a lot of time yesterday looking at film and correcting, I mean…we had 34 turnovers in the game before and we said, ‘This can’t happen again. We’ve got to clean this up.’ We had a slow start tonight but came out in the second half and got the upper hand. We got up by 20 but give (Pittsfield) credit, they came back. But we made some free throws and made the plays we needed to at the end.”

Lena’s Madilyn Thomson led all scorers in the sectional championship game with a sizable 23-point readout. The determoined and tough Wildcat worked out 13 first half points and 10 closing frame points. Eva Brooks followed her up with a 20-point readout on the night while Kali Fischer posted 11. Whitney Potter ended the night with six while Hannah Thomson and Maddy Kushner both posted three points each with one long range bucket a piece.

Wildcats edge Rebels to begin sectional play

GREEN BAY – The Lena girls, playing in the first round of WIAA Sectionals at Green Bay Southwest, overcame a six-point halftime deficit to beat Wabeno/Laona 48-43 on Thursday, Feb. 29.

The Wildcats, who outscored the Rebels 30-19 in the game’s second half, were led by Madilyn Thomson’s 20 points, eight boards, two assists, four steals and three blocks. Eva Brooks added 14 points, seven rebounds, an assist and a block.

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