Janesville’s Season Ends At Girls State Basketball Tournament
Janesville’s historic season has ended with a loss in the Class-1A semifinals of the Girls State Basketball Tournament. Third-ranked Burlington Notre Dame rallied from an 11-point, second-half deficit to defeat the second-rated Wildcats 65-58.
The loss ended Janesville’s 23-game winning streak and brought the team’s record-breaking season to an end.
Notre Dame entered the tournament averaging 82 points per game and had put up 90 in a first-round victory over Adair-Casey. But Janesville kept the Nikes in check much of the way and led 37-26 when Victoria Leyh started the second half with a 3-pointer.
Instead of settling for perimeter shots, Notre Dame then began taking the ball to the basket and started to chip away at the Wildcats’ lead. The Nikes went ahead for the first time at 54-53 on Taylor Hickey’s two free throws with 5:49 left in the game. They took the lead for good on Hickey’s pull-up jumper, which made the score 58-56 with 3:16 to play.
Notre Dame then pulled away. Clinging to a one-point lead, Hickey made another big play, driving into the lane and finding Emily Salvador for layup with 1:17 remaining, putting the Nikes up 61-58. After a Janesville turnover, Notre Dame’s Riley Kilbride drilled a 3-pointer from the right side to make it 64-58 and the Nikes were on their way to the championship game.
Hickey finished with 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals to lead Notre Dame, now 23-3. Courtney Coffin scored 12 on four 3-pointers, Kilbride had 11 and Kori Mesecher scored 10 to go with eight rebounds.
Leyh led Janesville with 14 points, while Kendyl Sorge and Brittany Hanson each scored 12. Sylvia Amlie contributed five points and 17 rebounds for Janesville, which won the state volleyball title last fall and finishes an outstanding basketball season with a 24-2 record and the school’s first state tournament appearance.
The Nikes, who never played in the state tournament until last year, will face top-ranked Newell-Fonda in the Class-1A championship game at 6 p.m. Friday. No matter which team wins, a first-time champion will be crowned. Notre Dame lost in the semifinals last year. Newell-Fonda has four runner-up finishes at state, but no titles.