A scoring drought of more than 17 minutes turned a halftime lead into a blowout loss Friday at the WIAA state tournament for the Bangor High School girls basketball team.
After leading 18-16 at halftime against Loyal in the division 4 state semifinals at the Resch Center, the Cardinals did not score in the second half until a Lily Martin free throw with 4:22 remaining, a stretch of 17:34. Loyal meanwhile started the second half on a 22-0 run and never looked back, cruising to a 44-24 win.
Bangor finishes its season 24-4. Loyal will face Milwaukee Academy of Science in the championship at 11:05 a.m. on Saturday on WXOW.
"Not much you can do, ask for it to fall. Shot selection was still good, they were open shots," head coach Merlin Jones said afterward. "It wasn't like we were forcing shots that were double- and triple-covered, things that way. It's a big stage, and the excitement that was out there from the kids, got to settle down, but overall, we still had open shots, so I can't complain about that."
Emma Wittmershaus led Bangor with 8 points, all in the first half. Jaclynn Freit added 7, and three players scored 2 points.
"We didn't work the ball around as we used to. I think it was just nerves was part of it too," Wittershaus said. "We tried staying calm but I guess the pressure got in our heads a little bit, and they just kept growing their lead so that didn't help us at all."
Both teams started off slowly on offense, but Freit came off the bench to score seven of Bangor's first 9 points, pulling the Cardinals within 10-7.
Wittmershaus later scored five quick points, helping Bangor take a 18-14 lead with 3:56 remaining in the opening half. It would be the last field goal for Bangor until Alea Fortier converted a layup with 3:15 remaining in the second half.
The Cardinals shot 17 percent from the field, making 9 of 53 shots. Each team committed 16 turnovers.
Morgan Reinwand and Karsyn Rueth led Loyal with 11 points each.