By Murray Gleffe, Correspondent
ASHWAUBENON-Peyton Wright sank two free throws with 12 seconds remaining in the game to propel the Ashwaubenon Jaguars girls’ basketball team over the Pulaski Red Raiders by a final of 50-47. (Jan. 30)
Autumn Schlader led the team with 12 points.
Hayden Kupsh was the only other double-digit scorer with 11.
The Jaguars connected on over 50% of their field goals, while holding the Red Raiders to just 36% shooting.
Emily Higgins paced the Red Raiders with 17, 14 of those coming in the second half.
The Red Raiders jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead on the Jaguars.
During the opening four minutes, the Jaguars committed six turnovers and didn’t generate good looks from the floor.
That all changed with 14:33 left in the first half.
Autumn Schlader connected on a three pointer from the left-wing, and then ended it by dishing a beautiful pass cross court to Hayden Kupsh who connected on her own long-range shot.
It was part of a 12-0 spurt that spread over a three-minute span to put the Jaguars back on top 14-9 with 11:18 left till halftime.
The latter part of the first half consisted of both teams utilizing the clock for over a minute on their offensive possessions.
The Red Raiders trimmed the lead to 18-15 after guard Madi Winter hit a short six-foot jumper in the lane.
Winter didn’t stop there. She connected on her next two shots to put the Red Raiders back in front.
The Jaguars, however, closed the half on a 6-0 run to take a 24-20 lead into the locker-room.
With possessions at a premium, and both teams evenly matched, all indications pointed to a close finish.
The Red Raiders leading scorer Higgins had only one made basket in the first half, and the coaching staff made sure she got plenty of touches in half number two.
She scored the teams first eight points to start the second half and the Red Raiders had once again recaptured the lead at 28-27 with 13:20 left in the game.
Later on, Wright, who had been held scoreless the first 25 minutes of the game, unleashed a triple from the corner and it found nothing but net to tie the contest at 32 all.
She followed that up later with another three from Parkview Middle School to give the Jaguars a 40-35 lead with 6:19 left.
“I am so happy for Peyton tonight,” said Nicky Van Laanen, Jaguars Basketball Coach. “She has continued to shoot the ball despite some shots not falling, and tonight the ball finally went through the net for her.”
Could the Jaguars hold onto a late lead at home?
Chelsey Gilson and Isabel Majewski hit late threes to keep the Red Raiders within striking distance.
The three by Majewski cut the Jaguars lead to 47-46 with only 1:07 left.
Megan Servais connected on one of two free throws to give the Jaguars a two-point cushion.
The Red Raiders were fouled coming down the court, but Higgins hit on only the first of two free throws; the second rimming out and landing in the hands of the Jaguars.
Wright was immediately fouled, setting up the final drama!
She calmly stepped to the line and drained both free throws to give the Jaguars a 50-47 lead with 12 seconds showing on the clock.
After a Red Raiders timeout, Winter came down the left side of the court and launched a 23- footer.
Who was there to defend the shot? None other than (Peyton) Wright.
The shot missed wildly to the right, and the Jaguars had escaped with a three-point victory.
“We needed this win in a bad way,” Van Laanen added. “I was very very disappointed with the loss last Friday at Manitowoc and I felt like tonight was in the making with the way we practiced the last couple of days. We made the plays we needed to make down the stretch and it turned out in our favor.”
The Jaguars improve to 11-7 overall, and 9-5 in the FRCC.
Pulaski/Ashwaubenon Box Score
Pulaski 20,27, -47
Ashwaubenon 24,26, -50
Red Raiders Final Totals: FG’s 15-41, 3 PT FG’s 8-18, FT’s 9-13, Rebounds 14, Assists 9, Steals 9, Blocks 1, Turnovers 11, Personal Fouls 16
Higgins 17, Winter 12, Majewski 6, Hernandez 5, Gilson 3, Steinbrecher 2, Litt 2
Jaguars Final Totals: FG’s 17-32, 3 PT FG’s 6-13, FT’s 10-15, Rebounds 23, Assists 11, Steals 4, Blocks 2, Turnovers 18, Personal Fouls 13
Schlader 12, Kupsh 11, Wright 8, Schaible 8, Servais 5, VanLaanen 5, Steinhoff 1