GREEN BAY — Both teams lost their points guards and saw their fan bases dwindled.

Neither team flinched.

Wrightstown had the upper hand in the end, finishing the game on an 8-0 run to defeat Lake Mills, 62-54, in a WIAA Division 3 state semifinal at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Thursday.

Lake Mills junior point guard Julianna Wagner left early in the opening half after falling awkwardly on a no-call at the rim. Wrightstown senior point guard Bridget Froehlke suffered a season-ending knee injury in Monday’s practice.

“We played our tails off like usual tonight,” Lake Mills head coach Brandon Siska said. “We’ve dealt with injuries all year long, we had two go down early. We stepped up, kept battling, handled adversity like we always do. It’s been a great season, we just came up a few possessions short. We played as hard as we could and just came up a little short.”

Each team was limited to 88 spectators due to coronavirus, an announcement that came from the WIAA on Thursday morning.

Junior forward Jade Pitta tallied a team-high 18 points for the L-Cats, who were making their state tournament debut. Junior guard Taylor Roughen added 12 and junior center Vivian Guerrero had 10, including the program’s first points at state.

Roughen missed the closing stages of the first half and early portion of the second half after having her ankle rolled up on during a loose-ball situation, further depleting Lake Mills’ backcourt.

“Our depth, with all the injuries we’ve had to deal with this year, we didn’t flinch,” Siska said. “We were on a big stage for the first time and we didn’t play scared at all. We played hard and kept believing. I was proud of the heart they showed and how hard they kept playing.”

Sophomore guard Leah Lemke led all scorers with 24 points, senior guard Meghan Riha had 11 and senior forward Ella Diny — who averages a team-best 23.2 points per game — added 10 for the Tigers.

The second-seeded Tigers (25-2) led throughout in a game that saw five lead changes and was tied nine times.

The third-seeded L-Cats (24-2) knotted things at 54 with 2 minutes, 53 seconds to go on a pair of free throws by junior guard Ava Wollin. Wrightstown freshman forward Jordan Vickman had the go-ahead basket in the paint with 2:22 left and the team hit all six of its free throws down the stretch to close it out.

Pitta had a steal and was fouled on the floor in transition, hitting both to make it a 46-45 Tiger lead with 7:05 left.

Deny scored inside next before Roughen made a 3 from the wing, squaring it at 48 with 6:30 remaining.

Wrightstown answered on its next trip with a pull-up basket by Lemke.

Roughen scored inside a minute later to tie it again before Mierow’s layup made it 52-50 Wrightstown with under five minutes left.

Roughen knocked down a pair at the line to tie it before Vickman hit a pair at the stripe at the 4-minute mark to reclaim the lead. Wollin then tied it for a final time before Wrightstown’s closing spurt.

“This season has been very long. We practice and work hard in the summer and in the offseason,” Pitta said of the team that became the program’s first to win an outright conference title as well as reach the sectional semis. “It’s fun being with the team and the bus rides home and stuff like that. There are a lot of memories that we’re never going to forget.”

WIAA DIVISION 3 STATE SEMIFINAL

WRIGHTSTOWN 62

LAKE MILLS 54

Wrightstown 30 32 — 62

Lake Mills 26 28 — 54

Wrightstown (fg-fga ft-fta pts) — Lemke 10-17 4-4 24, Riha 3-8 4-5 11, Mierow 1-3 3-4 5 Kiel 1-5 0-0 2, Diny 4-13 1-2 10, Radtke 1-3 0-0 2, Vickman 3-10 2-2 8, Brick 0-3 0-0 0, Lewandowski 0-1 0-0 0. Totals — 23-63 14-17 62.

Lake Mills — Roughen 4-12 2-4 12, Wagner 0-2 0-0 0, Pitta 4-9 9-13 18, Guerrero 3-9 4-4 10, Mahone 1-9 3-4 5, Lamke 1-4 0-0 2, Vasperman 0-0 1-2 1 Wollin 1-8 3-7 6. Totals — 14-53 22-34 54.

3-point goals — W 2-17 (Riha 1-3, Diny 1-4, Lemke 0-2, Kiel 0-3, Radtke 0-2, Brick 0-1, Vickman 0-1 Lewandowski 0-1), LM 4-22 (Roughen 2-6, Pitta 1-3, Wollin 1-5, Guerrero 0-2, Lamke 0-2, Mahone 0-4). Assists — W 8 (Lemke 3), LM 6 (Roughen 4). Rebounds — W 49 (Vickman 11, Diny 10), LM 37 (Guerrero 12). Steals — W 5 (Diny 2), LM 7 (Roughen 3). Blocks — W 3 (Vickman 3), LM 5 (Guerrero 5). Total fouls — W 24, LM 14. Turnovers — W 14, LM 12. Fouled out — None.

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