By Steve Pilz
For Zaleski Sports
AUBURNDALE - The No. 2 seed Auburndale Eagles girls basketball team punched their ticket to sectionals next Thursday by downing No. 3 seed Iola-Scandinavia 48-42 Saturday night in a WIAA Division 4 regional final on Tim Anderson Court at Auburndale High School.
Auburndale (19-7) will take on No. 1 seed Westfield (25-1) in a D-4 sectional semifinal Thursday at Amherst High School. Westfield outlasted No. 5 seed Wittenberg-Birnamwood 50-36 on Saturday night.
Auburndale led the bulk of the game, but the Thunderbirds were no slouch leading at 10-9 and again at 25-24 right after intermission.
The Eagles persistence, balanced scoring and superior foul shooting won the day, and the game.
The Eagles built a 10-point lead at 21-11 with 3:28 left in the first half only to have I-S cut it in half and trail 23-18 at the half. Auburndale’s Annamarie Aue led the Eagles with eight points and Lillian Fuhs had 11 for the Thunderbirds in the first half.
Fuhs put the T-Birds ahead 25-24 at the 13:30 mark with a driving layup. Aue answered less than 10 seconds later with a layup of her own to give the Eagles a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Both teams battled from there with the Thunderbirds closing to within one, 34-33 with 8:37 remaining.
The Eagles quickly went up by eight with three buckets by Aue and another hoop from sophomore Hope Schulte.
Again, the Thunderbirds answered with Fuhs getting three of the last four I-S scores. She finished with 21 points. When she wasn’t scoring, her teammate Jaelyn Siverston was. Siverston finished with 19 points as her and Fuhs were the only Thunderbirds to score field goals and combined for 40 of the team’s 42 points.
It was free throws that determined the game as Grace Krings hit a pair at the 1:02 mark and Josephine Ertl made 3 of 4 on the next two Eagles’ trips to effectively end it.
Auburndale was stellar from the charity stripe going 14-for-18. Conversely, the Thunderbirds struggled mightily making just 10 of 27.
“It was a good game”, said Auburndale coach Dale Aue. “It was a lot better than last night’s game”, the coach said with a grin, referencing Friday’s nail-biter with Abbotsford, a 63-61 Eagles’ victory. “We rebounded well tonight and played pretty good defense. We hit out free throws. That was really key in a big game like this. And, we had balanced scoring.”
Aue led that balanced Eagles’ scoring attack with 18 points. Ertl added 12 and Ashlyn Grimm joined them in double figures with 10.
Eagles 48, Thunderbirds 42
Iola-Scandinavia 18 24 - 42
Auburndale 23 25 - 48
IOLA-SCANDINAVIA (42): Makayla Much 0 1-2 1, Madeline Much 0 1-2 1, Jaelyn Sivertson 8 3-9 19, Lillian Fuchs 8 5-10 21. FG: 16-43. FT: 10-27. 3-pointers: 0-6. Turnovers: 13. Record: 15-10.
AUBURNDALE (48): Aliah Hamus 1 0-0 2, Grace Krings 0 2-2 2, Ashlyn Grimm 2 4-4 10, Josephine Ertl 4 4-6 12, Hope Schulte 2 0-0 4, Annamarie Aue 6-4-6-18. FG: 15-51. FT: 14-18. 3-pointers: 4-22 (Aue 2, Grimm 2). Turnovers: 10. Record 19-7.