Lakeland, Laona/Wabeno fall in state semifinals

The T-birds were making their first trip to state since 1993, while it was the first-ever trip for the Rebels.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:59 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WSAW) - Both the Lakeland and Laona/Wabeno girls’ basketball teams saw their terrific seasons come to a close Friday at the state basketball tournament in Green Bay. The T-birds fell to one-seed Pewaukee in the D2 semifinals, while Laona/Wabeno dropped to Blair-Taylor in the D5 semis.

It was the first-ever trip to state for the Laona/Wabeno girls. As a three-seed, they ran into a defensive juggernaut, losing in the semifinal game to two-seed Blair-Taylor 55-26.

The Rebels dug themselves into a hole early. The strong pressure of Blair-Taylor created a 31-12 halftime deficit.

The second half was a similar story as the Wildcats continued to force turnovers and hit shots, as the game would end 55-26, ending the season for the Rebels.

Grace and Malerie Krawze each had six points, leading the Rebels in scoring. Laona/Wabeno shot 24% from the floor, as opposed to Blair-Taylor who shot 36%. The Wildcats also forced 24 Rebels’ turnovers. Even with the result, it’s been a historic run for the Rebels’ program.

“I think our team will be remembered for how hard we work,” said senior Grace Krawze. “On and off the court, we definitely are putting in the extra hours, we’re always going into the gym to get some extra shots up, and I think we’re just a hard-working group of girls.”

The loss marks the furthest a season has ever reached for the Laona/Wabeno program.

As for Lakeland, they made the trip to state for the first time since 1993. However, as a four-seed they saw an offensive clinic from top-seed Pewaukee as the Pirates eliminated the Thunderbirds 80-63.

In the first half, the Pirates utilized their ability to create shots. Pewaukee attempted 20 more shots in the first 18 minutes than Lakeland, building a 41-24 halftime lead. The T-birds shot well, 44% from the floor and 60% from three in the first frame, but had fewer opportunities.

The second half followed suit as the Pirates continued to fill it up. Pewaukee continued to get quick baskets, despite a more productive half for the Thunderbirds as the Pirates held on to win 80-63.

Both teams ended up shooting over 50% from the field in the win, but Pewaukee attempted 19 more shots. Julianna Ouimette went out on a high note in her final game donning the Lakeland uniform. She poured in 30 points on 11-15 shooting, adding four assists.

“I love these girls. It’s been a lot of fun playing with them and just having them around for everything,” said Ouimette. “They’ve made it easy for me to get all these assist and steals. I’m so lucky that I’ve gotten to play with these girls these last few years.”

The Thunderbirds end their historic season 22-7.