The Milbank Area Lady Bulldogs put up a fight with the Webster Area Bearcats, but it was not enough to send them to the state basketball tournament. Milbank Area was defeated 58-47 in a tight Sweet 16 contest March 3, in Groton.
The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 15-8 after one quarter of play. They were outscored 19-10 in the second period and Webster increased their lead to 34-18 at the midway mark.
“In the first half, we played to their strengths way too much,” stated Milbank Area Head Coach Brian Pauli. “They like to play an up-tempo game and we took too many quick shots. We weren’t patient enough to get the ball inside and we gave them too many offensive rebounds which created extra scoring chances for them. Mackayla Schuelke hit a big three-pointer right before halftime to give us a little momentum.”
That momentum carried the Lady Bulldogs into the third quarter where they hit on all cylinders. Milbank Area rattled the Bearcats’ cages by pouring in 22 points to cut the deficit to just four points at 44-40 heading into the final quarter. “In the third quarter, we did an excellent job getting stops and were more patient on offense,” said Pauli. “That resulted in higher quality shot attempts.” The Lady Dawgs continued to push in the fourth quarter and cut Webster’s lead to one point at 44-43.
“After we cut their lead to one point, we had three straight possessions where we failed to capitalize,” Pauli said. “If we had scored and taken over the lead, that would have put extra pressure on Webster.”
“Credit to the girls for battling back after things didn’t look good in the first half,” Pauli continued. “We had Webster reeling, but weren’t able to deliver the final knock-out punch. I don’t think anyone can argue that this was a very good season for Milbank Area girls basketball. We didn’t reach our final goal, but I think we made the hometown proud this season!”
Caryssa Mielitz led the Lady Bulldogs with a double-double. She scored 22 points and brought down 14 rounds. Mielitz also blocked 2 shots and had 1 steal. Molly Rick tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. Gabbi Cummins contributed 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. Schuelke added 3 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Also adding to the totals for Milbank Area were: Mikaela Hoeke, 3 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist; Taylor Thue, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal; LaChasity Finley, 2 points and 1 steal; and Sophia Seffrood, 1 point and 2 rebounds.
Milbank Area went 20-of-45 from the field for 44 percent shooting. The Lady Bulldogs were 3-of-9 from three-point land and 4-of-9 from the charity stripe. The locals ended the game with 35 rebounds, 9 assists, 7 steals, and 2 blocked shots. They committed 18 turnovers.
Webster Area made 42 percent of its shots from the field – 24 of 57 attempts. The Bearcats were 6-of-15 from three-points out and 4-of-8 from the free throw line. They secured the win with 28 rebounds, 17 steals, 1 assist, and 5 blocked shots. They committed just 9 turnovers.
Photo Mackayla Schuelke in front and senior Mikaela Hoeke.