Late-game run lifts Bears to regional victory

LaBerge scores 15, Schnell 13 for Bonduel

Greg Bates Leader Correspondent

When the Bonduel and Coleman girls basketball teams squared off on Dec. 19, Bonduel had little trouble in scoring a 70-36 victory.

Two months later, the Bears had to fight off the Cougars in a WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal.

Coleman clawed back from a double-digit deficit early in the second half to go up by two points. Bonduel regained the lead and scored 19 of the game’s last 20 points to earn a 52-32 victory at home on Wednesday.

“A win is a win when it comes tournament time,” Bonduel coach Jerry Reinke said. “They think about earlier in the year when we beat them pretty good, and you can’t think that way when it comes tournament time. They’ve improved a lot and I don’t think we necessarily played our best, but certainly having a couple days off with the weather here didn’t help. But I’m sure everybody had the same situation.”

After Coleman, the No. 10 seed in the regional, took its first lead of 26-24, No. 7-seeded Bonduel relied on its experienced squad to take over the game.

“You’re talking juniors and seniors for us, and you’re talking freshmen and sophomores for them,” Reinke said. “You would hope that experience would have a little bit to do with it this time of year.”

The Bonduel players flipped a switch when they lost the lead, knowing their season was on the line.

“I think we just realized we needed to dig in and win this game, because we weren’t playing as good as we can and we had to play to our full potential,” Bonduel senior Jessica LaBerge said.

With Brynn Reinke and Kylie Guenther, Bonduel’s second- and third-best scorers during the regular season, combining for just four points, the Bears got production from an unlikely source. Senior Ashlyn Schnell scored a career-high 13 points.

Reinke saw a lot of confidence in Schnell to step up and hit some key jump shots.

“She is certainly capable of getting double digits on any particular night,” Reinke said. “She had an exceptionally good night tonight.”

The Bears were led by Jessica LaBerge with 15 points. Grace Petcka filled the stat sheet with 11 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks. Guenther added 13 rebounds.

Coleman’s Cameron Compe tallied a game-high 17 points. No other Cougars player had more than five points.

Bonduel (8-15) took a 21-11 lead into halftime as LaBerge and Mackenzie Moore drained back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute.

Coleman (7-16) got down 13 points at the outset of the second half before going on a 15-0 run to make it 26-24 with 12:17 remaining.

“I was a little disappointed in our defense in their run,” Reinke said. “We played pretty good man-to-man in the first half, and in the second half we got beat off the dribble a little too much. I was unhappy with that, so we switched defenses.”

The zone defense was the answer. Up 33-31, Bonduel held Coleman to just one point and no field goals in the final 6:25 of the game.

“We haven’t ran the zone much this year, so it was pretty new for them,” Coleman coach Glen Ziemer said. “I just think we had some breakdowns. They hit a couple of shots down on the baseline and got their little run.”

Bonduel moves on to face No. 2-seeded Crandon on the road on Friday at 7 p.m. The Cardinals are 18-2 this season.

“They’re a very balanced team, so we got to play very good defense, which we have for the most part all year,” Reinke said. “We’ve just got to make shots then.”

“We just need to make sure that we’re passionate and that we’re good enough to move on,” LaBerge said.

Coleman (32)

A. Nowak 1-2 1, M. Nowak 0-0 2, Ziemer 0-0 2, Klimek 1-1 5, Zeitler 2-2 2, Manning 1-3 3, Compe 1-5 17.

Bonduel (52)

Troxel 1-2 3, Petcka 1-6 11, Reinke 0-0 2, Moore 0-0 3, Zeitler 0-0 3, A. Schnell 3-3 13, Guenther 0-0 2, LaBerge 4-4 15.

Coleman 11 21 — 32

Bonduel 21 31 — 52