By Dan Truttschel – Sports Correspondent

One night after it drained 10 3-pointers in a WIAA Division 2 regional opener victory, the Wilmot girls basketball team couldn’t duplicate that feat when it traveled to Whitewater Saturday night.

And as a result, the Panthers saw their 2011-2012 season come to an end.

The Panthers never could get on track offensively in a 47-30 loss to top-seeded Whitewater. Wilmot closed the year at 17-7 overall, while Whitewater advanced to this weekend’s sectional tournament.

The night started poorly, as Wilmot junior Kaytlyn Eidson, who made six 3-pointers and scored 23 points in the win over Elkhorn Friday, was hit by the ball on the tipoff and missed several minutes of the first quarter.

“That kind of hurt,” Wilmot coach Keiya Square said. “She’s a player who had 23 for us last night, so to go against a team like that without her being able to play hurt us. That got us off to a slow start.”

Whitewater led 11-4 with 2:56 left before it rattled off six straight points to take a 17-4 lead into the second quarter.

The Whippets built their biggest lead of the first half at 17 on a pair of inside baskets by senior Molly Griep. Whitewater led 25-11 at halftime.

Square said his team’s offensive woes also were a credit to the Whippets’ stingy defense.

“They were doing a real good job of knowing where our shooters were at all times,” he said. “Any time we touched the ball, they were trapping them, flying around. We couldn’t make the plays we needed to.”

Whitewater led 34-18 late in the third quarter before Wilmot mounted a last-ditch rally.

A free throw by freshman Justine Schattner and a 3-pointer by senior Kelli Hutchinson cut the deficit to 12 heading into the fourth quarter.

Wilmot continued its rally with five straight points to open the fourth, but couldn’t get any closer.

Square was proud of his team’s refusal to quit.

“We continued to battle and played hard,” he said. “We stepped it up defensively and got some steals. The girls worked real hard to get back. It took a lot of energy from us.”

The Panthers’ shooting woes leaked over to the free-throw line, where they made just eight of 25 attempts – a key statistic in the loss.

“To miss 17 free throws in a game, it’s going to be hard to win,” Square said.

Hutchinson led the Panthers with 12 points, followed by Kari Clements and Sarah Vozel each with seven. Brooke Trewyn and Sarah Schumacher each had 10 to lead Whitewater.

The loss ended the Wilmot careers of seniors Bailie Sheahan, Kasey Galek, Hutchinson, Nicole Madriaga and Caitlyn Haag, and each brought something important to the program, Square said.

“Our seniors did a good job,” he said. “They’ve been here for the two years I’ve been here, they came to practice every day and got after it, doing a lot of things. They will definitely be missed.”

Despite the loss, Square knows his team has a bright future, as the Panthers’ top-three scorers will return next year.

“We’re young,” he said. “Our younger levels had a lot of success. … the future is definitely bright. It’s nice to have your top three scorers coming back from a team that won 17 games.”

 
 

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