Girls basketball: Gillett dispatches Niagara in WIAA regional semis

Gillett's Karissa Schaal puts up a shot between Niagara's Jessica Oratch (5) and Maddie West (20) on Friday in a WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal in Niagara, Wis. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

NIAGARA, Wis. — The streaking Gillett Tigers dispatched Niagara 59-36 in a WIAA Division 5 regional semifinal Friday.

The Tigers (18-6) will carry a five-game winning streak into Monday’s regional final against top-seeded Oneida Nation or Green Bay NEW Lutheran.

“We’re a hot basketball team right now and it’s tough to beat us,” said Gillett head coach Justin Daul. “I feel like we’re clicking on all cylinders at the right time. This was an all around great team effort.”

Niagara (16-7) overcame 23 first-half turnovers to trail by just 20-17. But an 18 percent field goal mark for the game was insurmountable.

“They just did things a little better and we didn’t shoot very well,” said Niagara coach Karl Lamoreaux. “That was the big difference. Our teams are about the same talent level.

“Their experience showed tonight. They stepped it up when they needed to and we didn’t answer.”

Freshman Aubrey DeBauch led the Tigers with 15 points. Senior Taylor Yonker, subject of a box-and-one defense, added 13 points and senior Kaitlyn Schaal had 12.

“Aubrey is an absolute spark and it’s hard to take her off the floor,” Daul said. “Taylor is an outstanding player, a four-year player that is absolutely carrying us now. The box-and-one on Taylor stifled us. We just had to work through it and the girls did an outstanding job.”

When the Badgers had to come out of the box-and-one, Yonker hit back-to-back threes for a 49-35 cushion.

“Give credit to Gillett,” Lamoreaux said. “They’re a good team and senior-led, and the freshman helped them out.”

Niagara sophomore Jasmine Racine scored a game-high 18 points with nine rebounds. Maddie West added seven points and 10 rebounds.

“In the second half I thought we got tight at times and maybe showed a little nervousness,” Lamoreaux said. “We would break the press and then turn it over. Their press was very effective.”

The Tigers went on a 14-4 run in the second half to open up a 39-28 cushion. Daul was surprised to see full-court pressure from the Badgers.

“Running up and down the floor is the name of our game,” Daul said. “In the end it probably got them in foul trouble and cost them a little bit.”

Niagara seniors Allison Wells, Maddie West and Ki’Eircidy Hannah played their final basketball game for the Badgers.

“We’re young but we lose three great seniors that I’m really going to miss,” Lamoreaux said. “They did a lot for this program.”

Lamoreaux wanted the girls to remember this game.

“I told them in the locker room, ‘If you don’t like this feeling, you have to really, really work so you don’t feel this again,” he said. “The last game of the season is always sad but it has to be a motivational tool. We have a good group of sophomores and they’re willing to work.”

Gillett 20 39 — 59

Niagara 17 19 — 36

GILLETT (59): Young 7, DeBauch 15, Long 2, Kaitlyn Schaal 12, Yonker 13, Karissa Schaal 5, Pecha 5. FT: 11-18. F: 17 (Sorlie fouled out). 3PT: Young, Yonker 2, Pecha. FG: 22-69. Rebounds: 37.

NIAGARA (36): Oratch 6, Racine 18, Wells 3, West 7, Gill 2. FT: 9-19. F: 18 ( Gill and Hannah fouled out). 3PT: Racine, Wells, West. FG: 12-65. Rebounds: 42 (West 10, Racine 9).