New Berlin Eisenhower's Ganzke gets revenge in semis
Lions snap New London's 68-game winning streak
You couldn't have written a better script for the conclusion of New Berlin Eisenhower's 48-47 semifinal win over two-time defending champion New London on Friday in the WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Trailing 47-45 with 17.8 seconds left to play, Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt drew up a play for the top scorer, senior Jenny Weiland.
It worked out better than anyone could have hoped.
Senior guard Erin Ganske saw a gap in the Bulldogs' defense, drove the lane and scored to tie the game. She was hammered on the play and converted the free throw for a 48-47 lead with 7.1 seconds left to play.
"Erin Ganske waited a whole year for this night," Schmidt said. "I'm tired of hugging them because you want senior leadership. I'm sure Erin saw what I saw, that little gap. She got to the rim and finished it. That's why we ended up winning the game."
Ganzke didn't think about her big play.
"I just saw the gap open up and just reacted," she said. "I didn't really think about it. It feels awesome. We got our revenge."
After a time out, New London got the ball to star player Brenna Heise, who took the ball over half court and called time out with 1.2 seconds left.
Schmidt then put 6-foot-2-inch freshman Chelsea Brackmann on the player inbounding the ball, and Brackmann knocked the ball out of bounds twice, running the clock down to 0.8 seconds.
"At that point we didn't want Heise to get her hands on the ball," Schmidt said. "Anyone else could beat us, but not her."
So senior Katie Lang fronted her and Brackmann was on the player inbounding the ball. New London tossed the ball over Brackmann and over the top of Heise. Cambria Fitzgerald grabbed the ball and tossed up a desperation shot, which badly missed and the Lions got their revenge.
The winning shot for Ganske was poetic justice, because last year she missed the entire second half with a concussion in the 43-39 loss to New London. The win by the Lions snapped a 68-game winning streak for the Bulldogs.
"I've coached a long time and that was one of the most exciting basketball games I have ever coached - or watched for that matter," Schmidt said. "My hands are still shaking."
A surprise ending
The way the game started, not too many people thought it would end like it did. The Lions played some of their worse basketball of the year and fell behind, 21-6, with 5 minutes, 50 seconds left in the half.
But then the Lions went on a 13-0 run to end the half and cut the score to 21-19. Ganske started it with two free throws, Weiland added two free throws, and Kristen Hesselbach scored on a drive, was fouled and sank the free throw.
Weiland then nailed a jumper, was fouled and hit the free throw. Weiland fed Sammy Kozlowski, who scored, and then Kozlowski hit a free throw to close out the first half.
"I told the kids after our second time out we have fire in our heart," Schmidt said. "We're not quitters."
Weiland felt the Lions' poor shooting was the reason for the slow start.
"We were all frustrated because we couldn't get any shots down," she said. "We knew we had to pick it up. We didn't get this far to get blown out.
"We wanted it that much more since we did lose to them last year. So we knew we had to put everything into it. We were stunned right away. Even though we've been here, it is really nerve-wracking to be out in the lights. After awhile our nerves went away and we just got it together."
Weiland led the way with 17 points and 6 rebounds and Ganzke had 16 points, hitting 10-for-11 from the line. Heise led all scorers with 19.
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