Central girls beat DSHA for third time, 45-43
Advance to Sectional finals against Oak Creek on Sautrday
Divine Savior Holy Angels had an answer for most everything it saw this season. But not Brookfield Central.
Central rallied from a 9-point deficit to defeat DSHA, 45-43, in the WIAA sectional semifinal on Thursday at Brookfield East.
The win for Central (21-4) sets up a sectional championship match with Oak Creek (23-2), both top seeded in their bracket. Game time is 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon at West Allis Central. DSHA finishes the year with a conference title and a 20-5 record, with three of its losses coming to the Lancers.
"They won the conference for a reason," Central coach Dan Wandrey said. "They're real good. But basketball is a game of matchups, and we match up pretty good with them."
Central trailed, 31-22, with 4:16 left in the third quarter, when senior Nicole Hinz drained a long 3-pointer and Jasmine Lewis closed out the quarter with a jumper, cutting the lead to 31-27 going into the fourth quarter.
"I think that was a turning point for them," DSHA coach Scott Witt said. "If we get that to double digits, I think it would have been hard for them to come back."
Senior Lydia Rohde, who played an excellent floor game and scored 11 points, opened the final quarter by banking in a jump shot, and then Hinz drained another long 3-pointer for a 32-31 lead.
But junior guard Arike Ogunbowale, recently named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state, drilled a long 3 with 5:41 to play to give the Dashers their final lead of the night at 34-32.
Central followed with a 9-0 to take control of the game.
"That stretch right there was devastating for us," Witt said.
Senior Abby Miller drilled a 3-pointer, and Lewis hit another jumper to make it 37-34. Rohde then hit 1-of-2 free throws and a difficult baseline jumper from the right side, and freshman Caroline Busch hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 41-34 advantage with 59.2 seconds left.
Rohde hit two free throws, and Miller added 2-of-4 before DSHA closed out with three 3s, one by freshman Rachel Heinrich and two by Ogunbowale, including one at the buzzer.
"We hit some huge shots," Wandrey said. "Abby and Nicole hit some big threes - and they had just missed some. Some were just cold-blooded. That's huge.
"We talked about being resilient as a team and relying on each other and that's what we did tonight. When we got down by nine, it got really ugly because our offense was looking sluggish.
"But we got into a little flow, started finding some cracks and Lydia didn't score a lot, but she hit a couple of big ones."
Ogunbowale had 29 points, scoring the Dashers' first 10 points and 15 of their first 17 points. Yet at times, she disappeared against the Lancers triangle-and-two.
Hinz led Central with 14 points and Miller, seeing more action because of Emma Brauer's knee injury (out for the year), matched Rohde with 11 points.
Although they struggled early, Central's shooters kept shooting and they came through.
"Nicole and Abby were great in that regard," Wandrey said. "I have a saying, 'Shoot until you're hot, shoot until you stay hot.' If you're a shooter, you have to have a cold-blooded mentality. The kids had a short memory. My goodness, Nicole hit two when we made our comeback which were unbelievable."
DSHA coach Scott Witt was gracious in defeat.
"First of all, congratulations to them," he said. "I have a great amount of respect for Dan and the program he's built. Their players have a never, never say die attitude. And that starts at the top. Hats off to them for a job well done."
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