The Germantown girls basketball team worked hard for the second seed in its half of the Sheboygan North WIAA Division 1 sectional bracket.
It meant that if the North Shore Conference champion Warhawks took care of business, they would get both regional games at home this weekend with chances at big crowds both nights. The girls did their part with a 79-51 win over Menomonee Falls on Friday.
They were not looking past seventh-seed and area rival Menomonee Falls on Friday in the regional semifinal, but they knew that they were heavily favored, and so made plans to make sure that the maximum number of eyes would be available to see the team on Saturday night should they beat the Indians.
That meant Athletic Director Jack Klebesadel was working the phones and e-mail all week with the staff in his old bailywick of Ashwaubenon (where he was the AD years ago), trying to move the time of the WIAA boys sectional final game on Saturday.
That's because the two-time state champion Germantown boys team was heavily favored and did dispatch area rival Sussex Hamilton in a sectional semifinal Thursday night to earn a berth in the WIAA Ashwaubenon sectional final.
The problem was, the girls regional final was originally scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday while the boys sectional final was slated for 5 p.m. Something had to give if Germantown fans were to see the maximum amount of basketball on Saturday.
It is a two-plus hour trip to Ashwaubenon (in the Green Bay area) and there was no practical way fans could see both games if the original schedule held.
So changes were made. First the boys game was moved up to 3 p.m., but that was deemed not early enough, so it was moved up to 2 p.m. Then to make it even easier for people to see both contests, the girls game was moved back to 7:30 p.m.
It'll still be a challenging road trip for those who deign to try and see both contests, but now it is at least possible.
The girls team hit the Indians with a 29-12 first quarter run and subsequently coasted to victory.
"The sectional was very deep so it wasn't a sure thing that we'd get that second seed," said Germantown coach Matt Stuve, "but I think the way we won our conference in fairly convincing fashion (13-1 league record) carried a lot of weight when we went into the sectional seeding meeting.
"It was a good situation to be in."
The Warhawks are in an even better position as they prepare to host Classic 8 Conference power Kettle Moraine, which dispatched Homestead, 51-34, in its regional semifinal. Both teams will enter Saturday's game at 18-5. The Lasers finished third in the Classic 8 while sectional top seed Arrowhead won the league title.
Germantown has won very few regional titles in their history, but based on the way Germantown played in the first quarter against Falls (8-15), there's a good chance the Warhawks may add another major achievement to their long list of season highlights Saturday.
Falls took the initial lead on a bucket by Laura Marx, but that was the high point for the Indians. Germantown went on a 13-2 run to take control.
In typical Germantown fashion, six different players scored in the outburst. Erika Berry and Paige Groth hit 3-pointers.
It was 16-7 with 3:39 left in the quarter, but Germantown went on another 13-1 run to make it 29-8. Again, six different players scored.
The score was 29-12 at the quarter, and thereafter, the point the advantage never dropped below 18. Even by Germantown standards, the first period was impressive when nine different players found the basket.
"Yes, it was a very nice first quarter," said Stuve. "The interesting thing about that is that first quarters have not always been our strength, but tonight we shot it well then. We got a little sloppy after that, but that was just about ball security."
Falls coach Craig Amundson, whose team had also fallen to the Warhawks in the border rivals annual battle back in December (73-54), said that the Indians put in a lot of work to prepare for Germantown's pressure, but it didn't work as well as intended.
Assistant coach Brian Kirt said the Indians had 42 turnovers in the first three quarters combined and then they stopped counting. Falls has only two seniors in the lineup (Erin Otzelberger and Claire Mohrfeld) and have three freshmen who play key roles on the team.
"We had a week to work on this," said Amundson. "We thought we were prepared for what they do. To that extent, we worked to slow it down, subbing with every dead ball, running in a lineup that included five guards. We tried a lot of strategy tonight, but they were just good.
"We tried not to panic, worked to hold down the fort as best we could."
Otzelberger and Mohrfeld received nice ovations when they came out with about three minutes to go.
Falls was led by Otzelberger with 16 points, and Kylie Sprecher and Marissa Igunbor had 10 apiece.
Stuve said it was fun playing Falls in the first playoff game.
"That game always adds a little extra juice for the kids," he said.
The Warhawks had 13 players score on the night, with Taylor Higginbotham posting 14, Erika Berry 11, Paige Groth nine and Bridget Kelley and Michaela Cantley eight apiece. Germantown hit 10 3-pointers as compared to none for Falls.
Now the North Shore Conference champs will look to make a little more history Saturday night, preferably before a big house.
"This is a position we've worked all year to put ourselves in," Stuve said.
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