Hawks hang on to defeat Antigo in 1st round of tourney

Shawano advances to regional semifinal
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Tori DePerry drives past Antigo’s Laynie Weix for a basket during the WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal on Tuesday. The Hawks defeated the Red Robins 60-52.

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School freshman Rachel Reed hits a 3-pointer during Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 regional victory over Antigo.

Shawano broke away from a one-point lead in the final eight minutes to clinch the WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal 60-52 against Antigo on Tuesday.

The No. 6-seeded Hawks held a close lead for the majority of the match, but struggled turning the ball over early in the second half to allow No. 11 Antigo to close the deficit 40-39 with under 8 minutes to play.

Shawano answered with a 9-0 run, capped by five points by senior Brandi Gueths, to create a 10-point lead. Antigo came back to trail by four, but Shawano was able to maintain its lead and a steal and layup by Hannah Wendorff with 10 seconds left sealed the Hawks’ victory.

“We knew they would come out fighting because we had a close first half against them the last time we played,” Gueths said of the Hawks’ 68-27 victory earlier this season, “and we knew they’d be studying us and know how we play from our last game. So we knew it’d be a fight. We came out a little flat at the start of the game and we just weren’t executing what we should have been.”

Execution, along with hustle, were the themes of the close contest for head coach Ryan Koenig.

“The main thing is that the girls just need to execute,” he said. “It’s all about execution. They can’t be lackadaisical, because then a turnover happens and that might be the difference in winning a game. And at this point, if you don’t give it your full effort, the season’s over.

“Antigo really just outhustled us tonight. They got every loose ball. All those little things add up to points in the long run. They got more shot attemps and our turnovers were just not good. It’s those things that we need to execute what we’ve taught all year. And right now we’re really struggling shooting the ball offensively, and we’re indecisive. We’re making some passes and we’re second guessing ourselves.”

Tori DePerry led the Hawks off the bench with 25 points. Rachel Reed sank five 3-pointers for a total 16 points and Gueths added 10. Antigo was led by Morgan Hotchkiss with 16 points.

“(DePerry) did a great job, she pretty much took over that game and won it for us again tonight,” Koenig said, “and Rachel had to hit some shots for us, that’s her job and she knows that. She’s a freshman, so we have to develop her scoring as she gets older, but right now she’s the best shooter in our program.”

Koenig ultimately attributes his team’s seniority for their ability to pull through at the end.

“I think it’s our experience with Hannah (Wendorff), Tori (DePerry) and Brandi (Gueths), who have all been in this situation last year and the year before,” he said. “They’ve been in a lot of close games, so they know what they need to do when they get in these close situations. So even when we’re not playing our best, they can get the job done.”

The Hawks (15-8, 8-6 Bay) wrapped up their regular season with a third-place finish in the Bay Conference, a feat they had their eyes set on at the start of the season.

“Finishing in the top-three was our goal all year,” Gueths said, “so that was our focus going into each game this season, and that definitely gives us a drive for the tournament.”

Shawano continues its play in the regional semifinal at No. 3 Marshfield on Friday.

Shawano (60)

Rachel Reed 1-6 16; Hailey Buschman 2-2 2; Tori DePerry 7-9 25; Kayla Ward 2-4 2; Hannah Wendorff 1-2 5; Brandi Gueths 6-8 10.

Antigo (52)

Laynie Weix 1-1 7; Morgan Hotchkiss 2-4 16; Lily Nagel 0-0 2; Brinna Mauk 5-7 11; Sydney Lenzner 0-0 4; Kendall Smith 0-4 4; Greta Parsons 0-0 2; Maya Gaedtke 4-4 6.

Shawano 27 33 — 60

Antigo 20 32 — 52