BURLINGTON, Wis. - Lakeside Lutheran's destruction of the Rock Valley Conference continued Thursday when they ended Big Foot's season with a 61-48 victory in the WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinals.
The Warriors, who defeated RVC members Turner and Clinton, controlled the game from the outset and sent the only team to ever capture a regional title at Big Foot home.
Lakeside's relentless pressure defense overwhelmed the Chiefs at times, particularity in the first half.
Big Foot trailed just 13-10 in the first half when Lakeside went on one of its signature runs in which they knock down 3-pointers and force turnovers which often turned into layups.
By the time the Chiefs came up for air at halftime, they were trailing 31-16.
"We tried our best to work as hard as we could on it in practice this week," Big Foot guard Courtney Schoenbeck said. "But they play how they play and we play how we play. It's a completely different style. We even brought some boys in to give us a different look, but it's really hard to get ready for that."
Lakeside appeared to be running away with it when they extended the lead to 35-16 early in the second half. But the Chiefs, led by Schoenbeck, refused to go quietly into the night.
Big Foot eventually cut the lead to 40-32 with a 9-0 run, with seven of the points belonging to Schoenbeck. But the Warriors responded with four straight points, and the Chiefs never again got closer than nine points.
The Warriors (18-6) will have a tall task in front of them, as they play 24-1 Marshall in Sun Prairie Saturday for the right to go to state.
Schoenbeck led the Chiefs with 28 points, including a 4-for-9 performance from beyond the arc. Both Payton and Reagan Courier, Big Foot's two other primary scoring options, fouled out in the second half, leaving a lot of the heavy lifting to Schoenbeck. Along with her points, she added 10 rebounds and four steals.
"When it got to crunch time I could tell nobody else really wanted to shoot," Schoenbeck said. "So I did y best to try and keep us in the game, but it just wasn't enough."
Reagan Courier added eight points to the Chiefs cause, while Ashley Fritz led three Warriors in double figures with 14 points. Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said the Couriers' not being on the floor late hurt the comeback effort.
"You take both of them out, that takes away about 27 points off the floor," Schoenbeck said. "They are our core, along with Courtney and Zanzie Demco, who plays great defense. So you take two of your core four away, and it makes things really difficult."
Big Foot finished the season with a 19-5 record, owners of the only regional championship in school history.
Coach Schoenbeck said the team had to fight through a lot of adversity to accomplish all they did.
"There was a divide between some families in the Big Foot community and we had to come together," Schoenbeck said. "I have to complement all these kids, and the school, for coming together as a team. Down the stretch, we played great team ball. They care for each other and that really showed out there."