Lakeland, Laona/Wabeno girls basketball advance to state

Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Lakeland and Laona/Wabeno girls basketball are both heading to state after winning their sectional finals on Saturday.

Lakeland played top-seeded Menomonie in the sectional final for the second year in a row after last year’s loss. In a back-and-forth battle, the Thunderbirds took the lead on two late free throws from freshman Ava Evenhouse. A defensive stand in the closing seconds clinched their first trip to state since 1993.

”I just broke down crying immediately. We’re going to state. We’ve been working for this,” senior Julianna Ouimette said. “This year, it was our goal the whole year. from the first game on, we’re like ‘alright, everything we do. Preparing us for state.’ And we’re here now.”

“It means a lot. I’m so honored. My huge motivation was to get Julianna and Lilly to state their senior year. That’s what I wanted to do,” freshman Ava Evenhouse said.

Laona/Wabeno was able to punch their ticket with a win over Edgar. The Rebels kept a ten point halftime lead to a 53-43 victory. Sophomore Allison Albrecht was proud of the team’s accomplishment.

“They have your back in every moment, they can stick by you. To be on their team is honestly amazing. Obviously, to take home a gold ball is the biggest dream to have. And then also to just play as a team and to play with your best friends one last time,” Albrecht said.

Neillsville’s dream season came to a close with a 39-37 loss to Colfax. Colfax took the lead with just over one second to play on a shot from McKenna Shipman. The Warriors were undefeated heading into the game.

Lakeland will play at state in Division 2 on Friday, March 10, while Laona/Wabeno will join them on the same day in Division 5.