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The Assumption girls basketball team defeated Laona/Wabeno in the WIAA Division 5 sectional final Saturday at D.C. Everest High School, earning a state tournament berth for the second-straight season. (Photo by Paul Lecker/Zaleski Sports)

By Paul Lecker

Zaleski Sports

WESTON – The Wisconsin Rapids Assumption girls basketball will get a chance to defend its Division 5 title as it will be heading back to the state tournament after a dominating 40-26 win over Wabeno/Laona in a sectional final Saturday afternoon at D.C. Everest High School.

Assumption (26-3) will play a Division 5 semifinal on Friday morning at the 2022 WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay. Pairings, seedings and game times will be announced Sunday.

The Royals suffocated Laona/Wabeno from the start, allowing just one basket in the first 14 minutes of the game to take a commanding lead.

Back-to-back 3-poionters from Kendall Duellman, and two hoops each from Ainara Sainz de Rozas and Anna Schooley gave Assumption a 16-3 lead with just less than seven minutes to go in the first half.

Assumption's Cristin Casey drives the baseline during the first half of the Royals' win over Laona/Wabeno in a WIAA Division 5 girls basketball sectional final Saturday at D.C. Everest High School. (Photo by Paul Lecker/Zaleski Sports)

Assumption added another hoop on a steal and layup by Addi Vollert with 4:30 to go before halftime to make it 18-3.

A 3-pointer from Rylee Yaeger ended a nine-minute drought without a basket from the field for the Rebels, who closed the half on a 7-2 run to make it 20-10 in favor of Assumption at intermission.

“They have a lot of aggressive shooters that we needed to be aware of, and we did a pretty good job against them,” Assumption coach Ryan Klein said. “We did a good job of pressuring them to making them have to execute on the offensive end, and not make layups on the back end of our defense.”

The Royals continued with their full-court trapping defense when play resumed and it was just more of the same.

A steal and layup from Sainz de Rozas started a 10-2 run that covered the first six minutes of the second half, pushing the Royals’ lead to 30-12.

Laona/Wabeno (21-7) made one final pus with an 11-0 in just three minutes – the Rebels had only scored 12 points in the entire game up until that point – to make it 30-23, however that was all the closer they could get.

Kayla Kerkman stopped the run with a 3-pointer, Sainz de Rozas added another, and Schooley scored inside to quickly push the lead back to 15 for the Royals, who cruised to the win from there.

“I’m so glad I get to go back, it feels great,” Sainz de Rozas said. “Our defense, we are pretty good at pressing, and it’s fun to run and go fast all the time.”

Assumption will be making its seventh trip to state since joining the WIAA in 2000, and its sixth in the past 10 seasons. The Royals won championships in 2013, 2016 and last season.

“There’s probably more pressure (to repeat compared to last year), but I’m excited at the same time,” Sainz de Rozas said. “It’s going to be different experience compared to last year, because of COVID and everything. This year we’ll be in Green Bay and I’m happy the team is going to get to experience this

Royals 40, Rebels 26

Laona/Wabeno 10 16 - 26

Assumption 20 20 - 40

LAONA/WABENO (26): Grace Krawze 2-7 0-0 4, Elizabeth Krawze 2-3 0-0 6, Malerie Krawze 0-4 0-0 0, Allison Albrecht 1-6 1-2 3, Rylee Yaeger 1-4 0-2 3, Holly Gilligan 1-5 0-0 2, Makenzee Marvin 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylyn LaRock 2-6 3-6 8, Lavara Gilpin 0-0 0-0 0. FG: 9-35. FT: 4-10. 3-pointers: 4-20 (E. Krawze 2-2, LaRock 1-3, Yaeger 1-4, Gilligan 0-3, M. Krawze 0-4, G. Krawze 0-4). Rebounds: 20 (Albrecht 5, E. Krawze 5). Turnovers: 20. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: none. Record: 21-7.

ASSUMPTION (40): Sarah Shaw 0-1 0-0 0, Ainara Sainz de Rozas 5-12 0-0 11, Addi Vollert 1-3 0-0 2, Kendall Duellman 2-3 0-0 6, Izzy Jungwirth 0-0 0-0 0, Autumn Moon 0-0 0-0 0, Kayla Kerkman 4-6 0-0 9, Cristin Casey 1-3 2-2 4, Anna Schooley 4-7 0-2 8, Maleia Kolo 0-4 0-0 0. FG: 17-39. FT: 2-4. 3-pointers: 4-8 (Duellman 2-3, Kerkman 1-1, Sainz de Rozas 1-3, Vollert 0-1). Rebounds: 30 (Schooley 7). Turnovers: 20. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: none. Record: 26-3.

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