By BURT ANGELI
NIAGARA, Wis. - Niagara couldn't have picked a better time to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Niagara’s Jenna Carlton soars to the basket against Laona in a WIAA Division 5 girls basketball regional opener Tuesday.
The Badgers, who struggled to close out the regular season, thumped Laona 50-31 in a WIAA Division 5 girls basketball regional opener Tuesday.
"The big thing I saw was teamwork," said Coach Laura Gunderson, whose Badgers ended a 25-day losing skid. "I told the girls that's going to be key."
Niagara's offense came from a quartet of players - Kaitlyn Lundin, 12 points and 12 rebounds; freshman Brooklyn Wolosyn, 11 points; Melinda MacDonald, eight of 10 in the second quarter, and Jenna Carlton, seven of nine in the first quarter.
The Kellys erased a big early deficit to close to 19-17 with 4:09 left in the first half. The Badgers, behind MacDonald's clutch shooting, pulled away for a 30-19 halftime cushion.
"They worked together. They didn't panic," Gunderson said. "Melinda was hitting those shots. That was awesome.
"I give Laona credit. They did everything (defensively with their zone defenses)."
Morgan Krawze's 11 points paced the ninth-seeded Kellys.
The Badger girls, who may be inspired by the Niagara boys' run to the sectionals, maintained a double-digit advantage in the second half.
"I think that has helped," Gunderson said of the boys' success. "That's a good team and works together really well."
Niagara (9-14) travels to top-seeded Marion on Friday.
Laona 8 11 8 4 - 31
Niagara 15 15 10 10 - 50
LAONA: Baker 2, Terry 3, C. Krawze 6, M. Krawze 11, Belland 9. FT: 6-12. F: 9.
NIAGARA: Wolosyn 11, Lundin 12, Evans 4, Carlton 9, Broullire 2, MacDonald 10, Harvath 2. FT: 4-7. F: 9.
3-point FG: Wolosyn, Carlton, C. Krawze, M. Krawze, Belland. FG shooting: Laona 11-52, Niagara 22-60. Rebounding: Niagara 39 (Lundin 12, MacDonald 8, Evans 6, Wolosyn 5), Laona 19.