With a 59-33 win over Elgin Public/Pope John Friday night in the Class C2-5 district title game, the highly successful Crofton girls basketball program will have an opportunity to add another first to its list of achievements--a fifth-straight state championship.
Crofton, which improves to 22-3, took control early by using defensive pressure to speed up the pace, which was key to limiting EP/PJ to just six first quarter points and five in the second.
Meanwhile, the Warriors produced transition chances, including a 10-0 run in the first period and another of 16-2 that continued into the middle of the second quarter and led to a 30-11 halftime advantage--a deficit that was too much for the Wolfpack to overcome in spite of doubling its point total in the second half.
“We had to come out with a quick start; we couldn’t get down 10 or 15 right away--which we did,” EP/PJ coach Randy Eisenhauer said. “But credit them; they get up and down the floor so well, and they have good rotation in their offensive sets. But, overall, I thought our defense played well; we just couldn’t get things going offensively right away.”
““We knew we had to take our time in our sets and in our offense, not rush anything--but we were rushing our shots in the first half. In the second half the kids were scoring, getting set and were more relaxed,” he said. “This is our seventh year as the Wolfpack, and we’ve had three district runner-up finishes. No state appearances yet.”
Jenna Parks and Baylee Wemhoff each finished with nine points for the Wolfpack, which ends its season at 19-8.
Five players jump-started Crofton offensively--Monica Arens, Katie Petersen, Kelsey Sanger, and Brittany Guenther all scored six points in the first half. Petersen would finish with 25 to lead all scorers, while Arens contributed 11 to the Warriors’ 59-point total.
“Every year our kids push themselves to reach their potential, and we feel like our potential is to win some games at state and see what happens,” Crofton coach Aaron Losing said. “I think our kids have real high goals. We’ve got to take it one game at a time, but I think if we play well and stay focused this is a team that can do some good things next week.”
“Our senior group--we’ve got seven seniors, and I don’t remember ever having seven seniors before--all have different roles. Some play more than others, some have been great practice-players and see time in the fourth quarter,” he said. “They all are supportive of each other and are very accepting of the role they have; they are just a great group of seniors. I’m really proud of what they’ve done this year.”
Elgin Public/Pope John ............................ 6 5 7 15 -- 33
Crofton ...................................................... 19 11 13 16 -- 59
EP/PJ (19-8): Elizabeth Selting 0-6 0-0 0, Jenna Parks 4-13 0-3 9, Lydia Behnk 3-5 0-0 6, Jordan Mescher 0-9 3-4 3, Jill Schnider 0-1 0-0 0, Baylee Wemhoff 2-7 4-5 9, Allyson Wemhoff 1-4 1-2 4, Katie Polk 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 11-46 8-14 33.
Crofton (22-3): Breanna Allen 1-7 2-4 5, Brittany Guenther 3-5 0-0 9, Haley Arens 0-1 1-2 1, Josie Sanger 0-2 2-2 2, Monica Arens 4-13 2-2 11, Kelsey Sanger 2-5 2-2 6, Katie Petersen 12-18 1-1 25, Mariah Bendiger 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-53 10-13 59.