JADE PITTA

Lake Mills junior forward Jade Pitta looks for an open teammate while dribbling between Marshall defenders Sandra Assaba and Mya Andrews during Thursday’s battle of state-ranked teams. The No. 6 L-Cats rallied to beat the No. 4 Cardinals, 58-57, to remain undefeated.

MARSHALL — To say the Lake Mills-Marshall prep girls basketball game lived up to its billing would be an understatement.

In a battle of state-ranked and defending conference title teams the visiting L-Cats used a late rally, capped off by Vivian Guerrero’s three-point play with 14.2 seconds remaining, to knock off the two-time defending Division 3 state champion Cardinals, 58-57, last Thursday.

The L-Cats (5-0), ranked sixth in the WisSports.net Division 3 poll, and Cardinals (3-2), ranked fourth, entered the early-season showdown as reigning Capitol Conference champions (Lake Mills shared the North with Lodi while Marshall won the South). And despite trailing by as many as six points with just under 6 ½ minutes remaining Lake Mills went on a late tear, outscoring Marshall 7-1 in the final 1:33 to pull off the upset.

“We battled and I’m proud of my kids for the way they fought,” said Lake Mills head coach Brandon Siska. “This is a huge confidence builder, Lake Mills has lost eight in a row to them.”

It was the L-Cats’ first win over the Cardinals since winning 55-29 on Dec. 13, 2011.

“To end that streak is great,” added Siska.

Marshall led 53-47 after junior Laura Nickel buried a pair of free throws with 6:24 remaining. But four consecutive points, two each by McClain Mahone and Julianna Wagner, brought the L-Cats back to within a point with just over 1 ½ minutes remaining.

After Rain Held hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Cardinals a 57-55 lead, Guerrero connected on a layup and was fouled by Anna Lutz leading to the three-point play.

“My team worked really hard to get to that point, so I didn’t want to let them down,” said Guerrero, who finished with seven points.

Lake Mills took a 28-25 lead into the halftime break after outscoring Marshall 19-8 over the final eight-plus minutes. Junior Hannah Lamke led that rally scoring all nine of her points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Lamke’s play was key after the L-Cats lost junior starter Taylor Roughen to an ankle injury just 6:13 into the game.

“With (Taylor) Roughen going down with an ankle injury early and (Jade) Pitta was in foul trouble, we had a lot of kids step in and step up tonight,” said Siska.

The L-Cats opened the second half with a full-court press, which at times frustrated the Cardinals and caused several turnovers that led to points in transition.

“We knew we could turn them over and use our athleticism, that way we could keep the ball out of (Laura) Nickel and (Anna) Lutz’s hands as much as possible,” Siska said.

But Lake Mills never led by more than five points at any time as Nickel and Lutz, Marshall’s reigning all-conference players, combined for 15 second-half points.

Lutz, a 6-1 junior post and reigning co-Capitol South Player of the Year, entered the game just four points shy of 1,000. But Lake Mills’ blanket-like defense, led by Guerrero and junior Kayla Will, made her work for every single point.

Lutz reached the career milestone on a layup with 1:27 remaining in the half, but the L-Cats limited her to a season-low eight points, over 20 under her average.

Marshall used a 10-0 run to build a 17-9 lead midway through the first half, but Lake Mills would rally. Back-to-back 3s by Lamke and Julianna Wagner completed a 13-0 outburst as the L-Cats regained the lead just before halftime.

Wagner led all players with a game-high 21 points, while Nickel paced Marshall with 16.

(Tuesday, Dec. 3)

LAKE MILLS 83

SAUK PRAIRIE 62

Lake Mills’ girls basketball team used a second-half surge, outscoring host Sauk Prairie by 24 points after halftime.

Junior center Will led the L-Cats with 17 points and Wagner notched 16, making two 3-pointers and all six of her free throws, to lead four players in double-figures scoring.

Lake Mills used a couple of big runs aided by turnovers that led to transition buckets to seize control.

“We did a good job of moving the basketball. After two or three reversals, we were getting easy looks,” Siska. “We turned them over and got some easy transition buckets. Our defensive effort was great in the second half. This year we’ve had six or seven players score in double figures already.”

Pitta added 15 and Guerrero, playing in her first game back from injury, scored 12. Junior guard Ava Wollin chipped in nine as the L-Cats pulled away after trailing by three at the break.

“We played decent in the first half, played through physicality,” Siska said. “In the second half, we executed a lot better. We went on a huge run to start the half and they called timeout. We turned them over quite a bit in the second half and took control of the game. Excited for challenge at Marshall on Thursday.”

LAKE MILLS 58, MARSHALL 57

Lake Mills 28 30 — 58

Marshall 25 32 — 57

Lake Mills (fg-ft-pts) — Roughen 1-0-3, Wagner 7-4-21, Pitta 3-0-7, Guerrero 3-1-7, Lamke 2-3-9, Mahone 4-0-8, Will 0-3-3. Totals — 20 11-18 58.

Marshall — Lutz 4-0-8, Andrews 4-3-11, Held 2-7-12, Weisensel 1-0-3, Assaba 3-1-7, Nickel 5-6-16. Totals — 19 17-22 57.

3-point goals — LM 7 (Wagner 3, Lamke 2, Roughen 1, Pitta 1), M 2 (Held, Weisensel). Total fouls — LM 18, M 17. Fouled out — Pitta.

LAKE MILLS 83

SAUK PRAIRIE 62

Lake Mills 30 53 — 83

Sauk Prairie 33 29 — 62

Lake Mills (fg-ft-pts) — Roughen 2-1-6, Wagner 4-6-16, PItta 7-1-15, Guerrero 5-2-12, Lamke 1-1-3, Mahone 1-0-3, Will 6-5-17, Vesperman 1-0-2, Wollin 2-5-9. Totals — 29 21-32 83.

Sauk Prairie — Tobias 5-0-11, Fishnick 2-0-4, N. Breunig 9-0-20, O. Breunig 6-1-13, Marquardt 2-2-7, Pertzborn 1-1-3, Schad 1-1-4. Totals — 26 5-9 62.

3-point goals — LM 4 (Wagner 2, Roughen 1, Mahone 1), SP 5 (N. Breunig 2, Tobias 1, Marquardt 1, Schad 1). Total fouls — LM 11, SP 22. Fouled out — Schad.

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