Raider girls 'stay true' in sectional win over Prescott

Advance to sectional final game Saturday
"We just told them shots are going to start falling in the second half, just keep true to what we're doing, keep taking your good shots," Cowley said


The shots just weren't falling.

The Arcadia girls basketball team was still in position to win the game because their defense held Prescott to just 13 first half points. The problem was that the Raiders only had 13 themselves.

That changed in the second half, particularly during a 11-0 run that spanned four minutes and gave the Raiders control in their 47-39 sectional semifinal win over Prescott at Altoona High School Thursday night.

With the win the Raiders advanced to the sectional final where they will play St. Croix Falls, 53-39 winners over Northwestern, at Baldwin-Woodville on Saturday at 4 p.m. St. Croix Falls comes into the game with a 24-1 record, while Arcadia improved to 22-3. It was the first sectional win for an Arcadia basketball team since the girls team advanced to the state tournament in 1998. 

The win seemed like it might be difficult to pull off after a tough shooting first half, but Arcadia coach Tom Cowley told his team to keep firing away. 

"We just told them shots are going to start falling in the second half, just keep true to what we're doing, keep taking your good shots," Cowley said. "They're going to fall in the second half."

Cowley proved to be correct early in the half as Arcadia scored the first six points, four by Ellie Hoesley and two by Linzy Sendelbach, who was held scoreless in the first half.

The Cardinals stuck in the game as a couple of baskets by Isabella Lenz along with a layup of off a steal by Sydney Matzek got them within two at 21-19.

A three by Hoesley followed by a basket by Sendelbach that came after Hoesley got a steal gave the Raiders some breathing room, but Prescott made a run.

Lenz knocked down a three pointer before Tori Benck hit from well beyond the arc. Prescott took its first lead of the game with 12 minutes left when Nicole Dalman made a tough basket inside.

But then it was Arcadia's turn. Specifically, it was Mercedes Romo's turn.

Romo knocked in a three with 10:50 left in the game to put Arcadia back ahead before hitting another a minute later to make the score 32-27.

After a Prescott timeout, Sendelbach connected on two free throws before Romo hit from beyond the arc for a third time in four minutes as the Raiders went ahead 37-27. 

Prescott stayed aggressive with two straight baskets, but Sendelbach scored five straight points to put the Raiders ahead 11 with two minutes left in the game.

As the Cardinals scrambled, the Raiders were able to stay in control and win by eight.

After going deep into his bench with nine players seeing minutes in the first half, Cowley did not make a substitution in the second half, riding his starting five the entire way.

The Arcadia coach said that wasn't how he planned the game ahead of time, but the conditioning of his starting group made it possible. 

"The flow of the game, the intensity of the game just didn't pick up," Cowley said. "We were doing really well air wise and conditioning wise."

Hoesley accounted for eight of Arcadia's 13 first half points and finished with 15 in the game. Sendelbach and Romo went scoreless in the first half, but combined for 21 in the second half with the former scoring 11 and the latter 10.

Halverson scored four points in the game, but helped lock down Lenz, who had scored 24 points per game, but was held to 14 with the Arcadia junior defending for most of the game. 

(Editor's note: The above is a sample of content that will be available to subscribers to the Times e-Edition. The full story — with results from the sectional final game — can be found in the print edition of the Times and will be online next week. As the new website launches, the Times will keep copy unlocked for a limited amount of time in order to allow subscribers a chance to sample the online product.)

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