The Lodi girls basketball team picked the perfect time of the season to play its best basketball. After winning their final two regular season games, the Blue Devils carried the momentum over into the WIAA Division 3 postseason and claimed their first regional title in eight years.
The second-Lady Blue Devils earned a spot in the regional final for the first since 2019 after knocking off host Richland Center 60-52 last Friday.
“Richland Center was very long and athletic and played a tough 1-3-1 defense,” Lodi coach Michelle Puls said. “We struggled a bit with it the first half and then we made some adjustments to our offense and it made all the difference. I was very happy with our defensive effort and this is something we have preached all season long. We take pride in our defense and this was the difference maker in the game.”
Lodi then claimed its first regional title since advancing to state in 2013 after upsetting top-seeded Westby 41-38 on Saturday.
“This was definitely a team effort and everyone contributed in some way,” Puls said. “We did a good job of handling their zone defense and once again our defense was the difference. We did make it exciting at the end, but to end the weekend with a regional championship is priceless. This is something these seniors have wanted for four years and it finally happened.”
With its fourth straight win, the Blue Devils improved to 7-9 overall.
In new procedures put into place this season, the WIAA reseeded after regional champions were crowned. Lod was given a No. 4 seed and faced top-seeded Marshall in the sectional semifinal in Cambridge this past Tuesday. Look in next week’s Enterprise for a recap on the game.
Second-seeded Prairie du Chien and third-seeded Lake Mills squared off in the other sectional semifinal.
The sectional final is set for Saturday.
Lodi 60 Richland Center 52
The Lady Blue Devils overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to thwart the Hornets.
Lodi’s season was on the brink of come to an end after falling behind 28-20 at halftime.
The Blue Devils made up the deficit and then some after doubling up their offensive output in the second half.
Lodi outscored Richland Center 40-24 in the second half.
Lauryn Milne had a huge night for the Blue Devils. She shot 8-of-16 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line on her way to a game-high 24 points. She also led the team with six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Lodi’s Dylann Harrington was 6-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-4 from long distance, and finished with 15 points. She also collected four rebounds, three steals and an assist.
Taylor Ripp contributed eight points and five rebounds to Lodi’s total.
KJ Louis paced Richland Center with 16 points, while McKenna Monson added 11.
Lodi 41 Westby 38
Free-throw shooting played a huge role in the win for the Lady Blue Devils. Milne was 5-for-6 from the line in the final 1 minute, 12 seconds to help Lodi hold on for the win.
Points were hard to come by in the game as both teams played stellar defense.
Lodi took its first lead of the game, 13-12, midway through the first half. The Blue Devils extended the lead to 24-19 at halftime.
Westby scored the first five points of the second half to tie the game at 24.
Lodi led 36-31 with seven minutes to go after Harrington drained a three-pointer.
Westby cut the deficit to two, 36-34, with 2:10 remaining.
After Milne went 3-for-4 at the free-throw line on back-to-back trips down the court, the Lady Blue Devils led 39-34 with 1:08 left.
Westby then had back-to-back layups to pull within a point, 39-38, with 30 seconds remaining.
Still trailing by a point, Westby missed two close shots with under 10 seconds remaining. Milne grabbed the rebound on the second missed shot and was fouled.
After Milne sank two more free throws with three seconds left, Westby missed a half-court shot at the buzzer.
Milne led Lodi with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Harrington came away with 11 points, while teammate Sam Klann chipped in 10.
The Blue Devils’ Ella Puls came away with a team-high four assists and two steals.
Grace Hebel scored 17 points for Westby.