SOMERSET, Wis. -- Somerset girls basketball coach Cory Lindenberg was quick to point out the progress the Spartans have made in the last four years.
The fourth-seeded Spartans’ season ended in a 58-38 loss at No. 1 Rice Lake in a Division 2 sectional semifinal Thursday night, Feb. 18, but Lindenberg said his players had no reason to hang their heads.
“It was a great season for a team that was such a pleasure to be a part of,” he said. “For the seniors they improved each year, getting bounced on the Tuesday game as freshman and sophomores, the Friday game as juniors, and then breaking through with a regional championship their senior year is just a great feat and a testament to hard work and a drive to succeed. Now they get some hardware that will be in SHS for years to come.”
The Spartans ended their season with a record of 15-10 and a regional championship plaque. They took an early lead last Thursday at Rice Lake but a scoring drought and early foul trouble allowed the Warriors to build a 29-20 halftime lead.
“We made a run at the beginning of the second half to close the gap to single digits, but they had the ball and a lead with 5 minutes to go,” Lindenberg noted. “So we had to foul to try and generate some extra possessions and Rice Lake made their free throws, which stretched out their margin of victory at the end.”
Senior Rachel Gaikowksi led the Spartans with 15 points in the loss and senior classmate Dani Schachtner finished with seven points and 14 rebounds while classmate Taylor Paulson scored seven points and sophomore Heather Gaikowski contributed six points and five rebounds.
Lindenberg saluted the Spartans’ four seniors-- Rachel Gaikowksi, Schachtner, Paulson and Sophia Rivard -- while pointing out the Spartans’ regional title was a collective team effort.
“It wasn't just them,” he said. “We had a junior and sophomore that started and then everyone else who was on the bench for the playoff run all brought such a positive energy that was just infectious. I hope they take some time down the road to bask in what they accomplished, because I'll remember it for a long time.”