Hortonville Joins Beaver Dam, Cudahy and Monore at State
Ratka Leads Former Team To State For The First Time In Three Decades
Hortonville 74, Menomonie 44
Hortonville punched their ticket to the state tournament for the second time in school history and the first time in thirty years. The Polar Bears will return to state for the first time since 1987, behind first-year head coach and former player Celeste Ratka.
“The last time was 1987, that was when I was born to put in in perspective” said Ratka.
Hortonville found an offensive rhythm early, racing out to a 20-5 lead midway through the first half behind the unstoppable play of Morgan Allen. Allen would help Hortonville carry a 37-16 lead into the break, while leading all scorers with 27 points.
“I had good feeling the way we started and the way we executed offensively” said Ratka. “We talked about finishing games, finishing plays, finishing possessions, but I did not relax until it said zero on the clock.”
The deficit would be too much for Menomonie to overcome. With Hortonville in control, junior guard Shay Frederick notched her 1,000th career point to give the Polar Bears a 71-40 edge with under four minutes to play.
” They just went out and attacked it and just played their hearts out. They left no doubt, and we were a team on a mission” said Ratka. “Every game they got better and better. They bought into everything we talked about and I am so excited for them.”
Hortonville remembered playing in the same gym in the 2016 Sectional Finals, falling one game short in a loss to Onalaska. Ratka said while it hurt then, the girls learned from it.
“Our experience helped us, this game wasn’t to big for us.”
(No. 1) Hortonville (20-5) will face (No. 4) Cudahy (19-7) at 1:35 p.m. in the State Semi-Final match on Friday.
Golden Beavers Offensive Overpowers Seymour; Thunder Proud Of Accomplishments
Beaver Dam 66, Seymour 49
“They just don’t have many flaws, so it was hard to game plan against them.”
Beaver Dam entered Saturday’s Sectional Final unbeaten, top ranked, and with an offense that averaged 80 points a game this season. All that showed as the Golden Beavers got going early and often, jumping out to a 34-21 lead at the half, and dominating 66-49 win to earn the ticket to State.
“They average close to 80 points a game so we figured we needed to keep them to the 60 range” said Coach Bobby Kuchta.
The Thunder did their job defensively, holding Beaver Dam to 66, but the early hole was too much to climb out of.
“First we had to handle the press and I thought we did a pretty good job at that.” We would rather allow a challenged three than an open lay-up. We just needed more week-side help.”
Beaver Dam got 22 points from their two 6 foot athletes Aly Van Loo (10) and Afton Bartol (12), as the Thunder could not match the size and strength in the paint.
“Really late is was the post play that hurt us and they were so patient in the second half.”
The Golden Beavers used their everyone scores philosphy that has worked all season. Four players reached double digits while one ended with 9. Tara Stauffacher led the way with 14.
“We just kind of ran out of gas in the second half and they are so deep that they were subbing three at at time.” I think that is the best team in the State and I think we gave them a pretty good run” said Kuchta.
Seymour was led by Hailey Oskey with 18 and Jenna Krause with 14.
Seymour made some improvements this season, finishing behind West De Pere in the Bay Conference standings and qualifying for Sectionals for the first time in many years.
“They accomplished a lot and there is not a lot to be ashamed of when you can battle the best team in the state like that.”