Duo carries Redbirds over Trojans in overtime
By Murray Gleffe
DE PERE — In an early season Fox River Classic Conference tilt, the De Pere girls’ basketball team built a big lead, saw it disappear late, only to regain it in overtime.
Ultimately, the Redbirds prevailed 63-62 over Green Bay Southwest at De Pere High School Dec. 6.
“Overtime, it’s about toughness,” said De Pere head coach Jeremy Boileau. “We hit some adversity falling behind for the first time in the game late, and then we hit some big free throws down the stretch. Ellie [Schneider] went 4-for-4 in the final minute to get it back and earn a hard-fought victory.”
Schneider led De Pere with 20 points, and Jordan Meulemans added 19.
Jaddan Simmons had a game-high 35 points, 31 of which came in the second half.
The Redbirds jumped out to early 11-6 and 16-10 leads behind the play of Schneider and Keely Dorn on the offensive end.
The main catalyst of the first half was Meulemans, whose defense held Simmons to two field goals -none of which came during the final 16 minutes of the first half.
With 3:50 left until halftime and De Pere holding onto a two-point lead, the Redbirds closed the half on a 13-5 run to take a 30-20 lead into intermission.
As the second half got under way, Redbirds point guard Sophie Hubbard nailed a mid-range jumper, and Dorn made two field throws to give De Pere its biggest cushion of the night at 37-22.
With the Trojans’ field-goal percentage below 25 percent, Southwest head coach Berri West called a timeout.
Simmons came out of the huddle and buried a long triple from the left arc.
Eventually, the Redbirds lead was cut to 46-38.
After five missed free throws by the Redbirds in regulation and Southwest trailing 56-53 with 7 seconds remaining, Simmons grabbed a rebound, took a few dribbles past half-court and sank a 24-footer at the buzzer to force overtime.
“We talked at halftime about how we have to do the little things well and buy in,” said West. “We boxed out, and we ran our sets better in the second half. We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half and had to battle back all night.”
The Trojans opened the extra stanza with an elbow jumper to take their first lead of the night, 58-56.
A little later, with De Pere trailing by a point and 45 seconds remaining, Schneider grabbed a key rebound.
After she was fouled, she sank two free throws.
After a Trojans’ miss, Schneider sank the third and fourth free throws to give the home team a 63-59 lead.
Southwest was not quite done yet.
Simmons connected on three free throws after being fouled from the arc, and then the Redbirds missed two free throws with 4 seconds left.
It set the stage for the dramatic finish.
With time running out, Simmons released a contested 26-footer from the top of the key which fell away and had the Redbirds celebrating in jubilation.
“Every practice, I take a few extra minutes to practice free throws,” said Schneider. “I know at the end of a game, they can be super important. I took a deep breath, and fortunately, they all went in when it mattered most.”
Green Bay Southwest: 20, 36, 6—62
De Pere: 30, 26, 7—63
Trojans: Simmons 35, Mollen 7, Thiel 5, McFerrin 4, Rauschenbach 4, Hill 4, Thomas 3.
Redbirds: Schneider 20, Meulemans 19, Hubbard 8, Dorn 8, Witteck 5, Bierowski 3