Last season, the DeForest girls basketball team needed two buzzer-beaters to win a WIAA Division 2 regional title for the first time since 2014. The Norskies had a much easier time returning to sectionals this year.
The top-seeded Lady Norskies opened the postseason last Friday with a 51-28 victory over eighth-seeded Stoughton in the regional semifinals.
“We wanted to make it a full-court game and control the tempo throughout the game,” DeForest coach Jerry Schwenn said. “Our ability to rebound the ball in the first half really set the tone for the game. We pushed the ball well in transition.”
DeForest advanced to the sectional with a 56-35 triumph over fourth-seeded Monona Grove in the regional final. It is the second straight year the Norskies have knocked off the Silver Eagles in the regional championship game.
The sectional semifinal is set for 7 p.m. on March 5 at Madison Edgewood. The Norskies will take on second-seeded Oregon, which won 57-43 over Reedsburg in the semifinal.
The sectional final is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Janesville Craig.
Third-seeded Waterford and fourth-seeded Waukesha West will play in the other sectional semifinal.
The Lady Norskies have won 12 of their last 13 games to move to 21-3 overall.
The Norskies opened the WIAA postseason with one of its best defensive games of the season. They held the Vikings to 14 points in both halves.
DeForest had a strong first half. The Norskies built a comfortable 35-14 halftime lead.
Neither team was able to get much going offensively in the second half. The Lady Norskies outscored the Vikings 16-14.
The Lady Norskies had a balanced scoring attack. Maggie Trautsch led the way with 13 points, while Megan Mickelson and Jaelyn Derlein chipped in 10 apiece.
Mickelson led DeForest with 12 rebounds, while Sam Schaeffer grabbed seven. Schaeffer added a team-high six assists.
Ava Loftus was the only Viking to score in double figures. She finished with 11 points.
Monona Grove 35
The Lady Norskies used a buzzer-beater to beat the Silver Eagles in last year’s regional final. But this time around, they dominated the Silver Eagles.
DeForest set the tone with a 34-21 outburst in the first half. The Lady Norskies scored the final nine points of the half.
“Our 9-0 run at the end of the first half was pivotal in giving us confidence and gave us control of the game,” Schwenn said.
The Norskies continued to play great defense in the second half and held Monona Grove to 14 points.
DeForest added eight points to the final margin after outscoring the Silver Eagles 22-14 in the second half.
Mickelson had another huge game for the Norskies. She led the team with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“Megan had a double-double both regional games,” Schwenn said. “Megan played like the impact player she is for our team. She does so much for this team and it is fun to see all her hard work pay off.”
Schaeffer finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Derlein came away with 13 points and four rebounds.
“Sam Schaeffer established herself as an outside threat early in the game and that stretches the floor that much more for opposing teams,” Schwenn said.
Lakyn Hinson led Monona Grove with nine points.