Slow start haunts Hawks

DePerry scores 17 in loss

By Morgan Rode

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Tori DePerry, center, passes the ball to teammate Avery Dreier during the first half of Friday’s Bay Conference loss to West De Pere at Shawano Community High School.

Trying to avenge a Bay Conference loss from early January, the Shawano girls basketball team could not have hoped for a more ideal start.

On West De Pere’s first possession, Shawano forced a turnover that turned into two successful free throws for Hawks’ senior Tori DePerry. But that start was short-lived and West De Pere responded by scoring the next 22 points to take control before holding off Shawano late for a 58-47 victory at Shawano Community High School on Friday.

“It’s really crucial to have a good start, no matter what team you are playing,” Shawano coach Ryan Koenig said. “When you are behind, the other coach gets to dictate the game, and we have to keep switching and doing different things. And that really hurt us tonight.”

On its big run, West De Pere knocked down four 3-pointers to dampen the mood in the gym.

Shawano (11-8, 9-4 Bay Conference) was celebrating its five seniors (DePerry, Kennedy Klemens, Hailey Buschman, Kayla Ward and Carrie Young), who all started.

“Our adrenaline was pumping. It’s senior night; we want to go out, and we want to excel in front of the crowd,” DePerry said. “I think we were just too antsy, too jumpy. We just had to relax and play our game, and I think we would have had a better start.”

Trailing 22-2, Shawano showed plenty of fight. Despite only allowing West De Pere (15-5, 13-0 Bay) to convert three shots the rest of the half, the three makes were 3-pointers. The Hawks outscored the Phantoms 15-9 over that stretch.

The second half started similar to the first, with DePerry connecting on a 3-pointer to cut the host’s deficit to 11, 31-20. The Phantoms again had an answer, scoring nine straight points to take a 20-point lead.

Shawano continued to battle, though.

Sophomore Avery Dreier connected on a pair of baskets and, along with a 3-pointer from sophomore Rachel Reed and two free throws from DePerry, Shawano trimmed it to a 13-point deficit with 8 minutes, 18 seconds to play.

A quick 8-0 spurt put West De Pere back up 21, but Shawano kept battling. The Hawks eventually cut the deficit to nine on a 3-pointer by DePerry with under a minute to play, but the hosts eventually ran out of time.

“Going into the playoffs, we just have to work harder,” DePerry said. “But since it’s the end of the season, you can’t just say we have to work harder because by now it should already be showing. So from here on out, everybody has to leave everything they have on the court, go into playoffs strong and don’t hold anything back — we have nothing to lose.”

DePerry scored a game-high 17 points, while Dreier tallied eight. Buschman also scored eight points.

Shawano will look to end the regular season on a strong note when it travels to take on New London on Thursday. The Hawks open the postseason hosting Antigo on Tuesday.

West De Pere (58)

Bailey Baeten 2-2 10, Sydney Appleton 0-1 6, Casey Jepson 2-2 15, Alivia McNabb 0-0 8, Imani Ninham 0-0 7, Alexa Thomson 4-7 12.

Shawano (47)

Lydia Beyer 0-0 2, Rachel Reed 0-0 6, Hailey Buschman 2-2 8, Tori DePerry 8-8 17, Taylor Johnson 0-0 2, Carrie Young 2-2 2, Gracyn Habeck 0-0 2, Avery Dreier 2-2 8.

West De Pere 31 27 — 58

Shawano 17 30 — 47