BARABOO — It’s long been said that defense wins championships and Platteville proved that in Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 girls basketball sectional championship game against two-time defending state champion Marshall.

The Hillmen’s blanket-like defense and aggressive style frustrated the Cardinals from the opening tip, resulting in a 50-34 win and program’s first trip to the WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament in 36 years.

“We knew coming in how good they were and they just played really good defense; we also had 24 turnovers and it’s tough to win a game like this when you turn the ball over as much as we did,” said Marshall head coach Doug Pickarts.

Platteville held Marshall to a season-low point total. Their previous low score came in a 43-31 win over Cambridge.

“It’s a credit to their defense, we had a hard time getting into the flow of our offense from time to time (and) it was a very physical game; it’s two very good teams going at it,” Pickarts said. “I don’t think the score truly showed how good we are, but it’s also how good Platteville is.”

It was the second in as many seasons that the two perennial powers met in the sectional final. Marshall won 78-61 last year and went on to capture its second consecutive D3 state title, but Platteville put an end to the Cardinals’ reign.

Bradley University recruit Sami Martin scored a game-high 19 points while senior Josie Nies added 11 as the Hillmen (24-0, ranked No. 1) will make their first state trip since winning the Class B championship in 1984.

For Marshall (21-5, No. 7) it ended a 15-game winning streak and also will be the first time since the 2016-17 season that the year doesn’t end on the Resch Center court in Green Bay.

“It’s tough to sit out there and watch them celebrate — you’ve been on the other side,” said Pickarts. “I know when I took the job over all the pressure that was on me, but I also knew and understood the pressure on them.”

Platteville frustrated Marshall with its physicality in the first half, double-teaming juniors Anna Lutz and Laura Nickel and not allowing the Cardinal standouts good looks at the basket.

“I was asked before the game what wins these type of games and I said your role players have to step up and make plays. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” said Pickarts. “I don’t want to take anything away from our kids, they battled really hard, I just don’t think we played as well as we could have.”

A 7-0 run gave the Hillmen a 25-13 advantage, its biggest of the first half. Lutz connected on a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to end the Cardinals’ 5-minute scoring drought.

Marshall turned the ball over nine times over the first 18 minutes which Platteville turned into 10 points.

Lutz made 1-of-2 free throws to begin the second half, closing the deficit to eight, but the Cardinals never got closer.

Both Lutz and Nickel picked up their third fouls in the first 7 minutes, and Lutz played the final 9:24 with four limiting her ability to be more aggressive.

Lutz led the Cardinals with 14 points while Nickel added 12.

Platteville earned the No. 1 seed and will play No. 4 Arcadia in the first of two Division 3 state semifinal games on Thursday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

PLATTEVILLE 50

MARSHALL 34

Marshall 16 18 — 34

Platteville 25 25 — 50

Marshall (fg ft-fta pts) — Lutz 4 4-6 14, Andrews 1 0-0 2, Weisensel 1 0-0 2, Assaba 1 0-0 2, Nickel 4 2-2 12, Ward 1 0-0 2. Totals — 12 6-8 34.

Platteville — C. Nies 1 0-0 2, Hoyer 3-8 9 Budden 0 2-2 2 J. Nies 3 2-2 11 Martin 9 0-0 19 Carroll 2 3-4 7. Totals — 18 10-16 50.

3-point goals — M 4 (Lutz 2, Nickel 2), P 4 (J. Nies 3, Martin 1). Total fouls — M 17, P 12.

MARSHALL 57

LACONIA 40

In a rematch of last year’s Division 4 state championship game Marshall again got the best of Laconia in a sectional semifinal played March 5 in Lomira.

The Cardinals doubled up the Spartans in the first half taking a 24-12 lead into the halftime break.

Lutz led the way with 24 points, 12 coming from the free throw line as the junior connected on 12-of-14 shots.

Marshall was 21-of-30 as a team at the stripe, while Laconia was just 7-of-8.

From there the Cardinals’ balance was too much for the Spartans. Nickel and Ward eached scored nine while Andrews chipped in seven.

Senior Cyna Madigan led third-seeded Laconia (20-5) with 12.

Marshall defeated Laconia 64-56 in winning the 2019 Division 3 state championship, its second in as many years.

MARSHALL 57

LACONIA 40

Laconia 12 28 — 40

Marshall 24 33 — 57

Laconia (fg ft-fta pts) — Freibert 1 0-2 2, Madigan 5 2-5 12, Smit 1 1-2 3, Mahone 3 0-1 7, Rens 2 4-6 8, Wurtz 2 0-2 4, Johannes 2 0-0 4. Totals — 16 7-8 40.

Marshall — Lutz 6 12-14 24, Andrews 1 5-8 7, Held 0 2-4 2, Weisensel 1 0-0 3, Assaba 1 0-0 2, Antonio-Reyes 0 1-2 1, Nickel 4 0-0 9, Ward 3 1-2 9. Totals — 16 21-30 57.

3-point goals — L 1 (Mahone), M 4 (Ward 2, Nickel 1, Weisensel 1). Total fouls — L 15, M 15.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.