Host Sun Prairie tops DeForest to advance to tournament finale

December 28, 2018

SUN PRAIRIE — An ankle injury slowed Sun Prairie guard Grace Hilber at the season’s start.

But the 5-foot-6 senior is getting the bounce back in her step and beginning to round into form, which is good news for the Cardinals’ girls basketball team.

Hilber scored a game-high 18 points, 5-11 sophomore post player Jazzanay Seymore had 15 and the Cardinals turned up the defensive pressure at the start of the second half en route to a 62-45 victory over DeForest in the second game at the Sun Prairie Christmas tournament on Thursday night.

“Grace had her usual game,” Sun Prairie coach John Olson said. “Teams know about her, so they are going to pressure her and she still knocked down 18. That was a quiet 18. I looked up there (at the scoreboard) and I thought she had eight or 10, and here she has 18 at the end. That’s the kind of player she is. They have to focus on her a little bit and that gives other people an opportunity.”

Sun Prairie (6-2) had a 21-3 run in the first 5 minutes, 35 seconds of the second half and opened a 46-25 lead in pulling away from DeForest (7-4).

“Credit to Sun Prairie,” DeForest coach Jerry Schwenn said. “They were up in the passing lanes a lot to start the second half and we got a little sloppy with the basketball. Unfortunately, that turned into points for them the other way. That was a pretty good run, 21-3. … That was a huge part of the game.”

Sun Prairie advanced to play New Berlin Eisenhower in the title game at 7 tonight. DeForest will face Green Bay Southwest in the third-place game at 5:15 p.m. In Thursday night’s first game, New Berlin Eisenhower (10-1) earned a 60-44 victory over Green Bay Southwest (5-4).

After missing most of the first half due to foul trouble, Sun Prairie senior guard Alexis Baker returned in the second half and scored all nine of her points.

The Cardinals scored the first 13 points of the second half; sophomore guard Bailey Lutes scored five and Seymore and Baker each had four in that run. That was the opening salvo of the 21-3 outburst — with Baker scoring eight points overall and Hilber the final four.

“Getting Alexis back really helped,” said Hilber, who has signed with Division II Lewis University in Illinois. “She’s always down the floor and ready to catch the ball. Defense was the start of it. Once we got a turnover, it was easy for me. I did the easy part, getting the ball up the floor.”

Said Schwenn: “Hilber just does a nice job distributing the ball, and she did that tonight. She runs the show. She’s an experienced guard for them.”

Junior guard Sam Schaeffer topped the Norskies with 10 points.

DeForest led 10-2 in the game’s opening 2:27, but Sun Prairie rallied with a 19-4 run once its defensive intensity picked up.

“We haven’t really been Sun Prairie defensively,” Olson said. “Yeah, we were 5-1 in the Big Eight (Conference) and 5-2 overall (entering Thursday’s game), but I just felt we weren’t getting after it defensively. We were a little passive. We came out aggressively tonight. And, boy, they really got after it. I think we kept our opponent from really getting into their sets and what they wanted to do. And they are a good basketball team.”

In the first game, senior guard Julia Hintz, a Cleveland State University commit, and sophomore guard Nikki Dienberg each scored 18 points for Eisenhower, ranked second in Division 2 in the WisSports.net poll.

University of Minnesota recruit Erin Hedman, a 6-3 junior forward, added 15 points for Woodland West Conference leader Eisenhower, the WIAA Division 2 state runner-up (to Beaver Dam) last season.

Heavily recruited Jaddan Simmons, a 5-8 junior guard, had a game-high 21 points for Green Bay Southwest, ranked ninth in Division 2.

DeForest 22 23 — 45

Sun Prairie 25 37 — 62

DEFOREST — Compe 2 2-2 6, Roth 3 0-1 8, Trautsch 1 0-0 3, Schaeffer 4 1-1 10, Tschumper 2 0-0 4, Mickelson 1 4-5 6, Grundahl 3 2-6 8, Laufenberg 0 0-0 0, Hardiman 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Hanh 0 0-0 0, Buhr 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 9-15 45.

SUN PRAIRIE — Hilber 7 3-4 18, Lutes 2 2-3 7, Radlund 2 2-2 6, Rae 3 0-0 7, Baker 4 1-2 9, Seymore 7 0-0 15, Kostelnik 0 0-0 0, Tiltrum 0 0-0 0, Strey 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 8-11 62.

3-point field goals — DF 4 (Roth 2, Trautsch 1, Schaeffer 1); SP 4 (Hilber 1, Lutes 1, Rae 1, Seymore 1).

Total fouls — DF 16; SP 15.

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