By Murray Gleffe, Correspondent
ASHWAUBENON- The wait is finally over. It had been Mar. 2, 2007 since the Jaguars girls’ basketball team last defeated the De Pere Redbirds. 16 attempts had come and gone by the wayside.
Fast forward to Feb. 6, 2018.
This night belonged to the Jaguars girls’ basketball team, coaching staff, parents, and the entire community of Ashwaubenon!
The 11-year drought was ended as the Jaguars defeated the Redbirds by a final of 51-43.
Autumn Schlader led the Jaguars with 16 points.
Lydia Schaible and Hayden Kupsh each had 11.
The Jaguars collected 13 offensive rebounds for the game.
If there were any nerves on this night, it was not self-evident early.
The Jaguars jumped out to an 8-3 lead after Schlader’s hook shot in the lane found the basket.
Later, Schaible received an entry pass, pump faked her defender into the air, and drove in for the easy two.
It put the Jaguars up 18-9.
Near the end of the first half, the Jaguars showed their tenacity on one possession.
They corralled four offensive rebounds and were awarded a fifth opportunity in which Schaible was hit on the arm and converted the basket.
After the Jaguars hit four free throws near intermission, they enjoyed their biggest lead of the game at 28-11.
The Redbirds chipped away, and Natalie Cerrato cut the margin down to 12 at halftime when she converted a lay-up (at the buzzer) off a Jaguars turnover.
The Jaguars had held Redbirds leading scorer Rachel Kerkhoff to a single field goal in half number one.
“I thought we did an excellent job containing Kerkhoff from the outside and Miller in the paint,” said Nicky VanLaanen, Jaguars Head Basketball Coach. “We held those two key players to only four field goals for the entire game and that is a testament to Autumn and Lydia’s team defense on both players.”
With the Jaguars up 30-20 in the second half, Peyton Wright went coast to coast and put home a right-handed layup off the left part of the window.
With 12:30 left in the game, down 12 points, the Redbirds made their run.
Point Guard Annie Schneider got hot from the outside and the other Redbird key contributors started taking more dribble drives to the tin.
The result was a 13-5 run in which the Redbirds trimmed the lead to 39-35 with 4:38 remaining.
After the Jaguars split a pair from the free throw line, Megan Servais hit a key shot that turned momentum back on the side of the home team.
She hit a baseline jumper from 10 feet in which the ball rolled around three times and finally fell through.
The Jaguars knew they had to play to the final horn, and Schneider made sure they did.
She hit two big jumpers to cut the Jaguars margin to 46-43 with just 54 seconds left.
The Jaguars played keep away and finally were fouled.
Wright hit the first of two free throws.
After the second one missed, Schaible ripped the ball away from Elena Miller showing that the Jaguars were not going to be denied on this evening.
Schlader and Kupsh added two free throws apiece to provide the final margin.
The Jaguars improve to 12-8 overall and 10-6 in the FRCC.
“I am just so thrilled for these players,” added VanLaanen. “It was the one school that had hurt us year after year. Tonight, these kids battled and got the job done. The seniors will have a memory for a lifetime.”
De Pere/Ashwaubenon Box Score
De Pere 16,27, -43
Ashwaubenon 28,23, -51
Redbirds Final Totals: FG’s 16-42, 3 PT FG’s 6-20, FT’s 5-9, Rebounds 23, Assists 6, Steals 2, Blocks 2, Turnovers 18, Personal Fouls 18
A.Schneider 18, Cerrato 9, R. Miller 5, E. Miller 5, Kerkhoff 4, Simoens 2
Jaguars Final Totals: FG’s 15-44, 3 PT FG’s 4-13, FT’s 17-23, Rebounds 31, Assists 7, Steals 8, Blocks 2, Turnovers 16, Personal Fouls 11
Schlader 16, Schaible 11, Kupsh 11, Servais 7, Wright 6