Mukwonago girls fall to Riverside in state final
Mukwonago minimized Milwaukee Riverside’s 6-5 post presence Breanna Lewis, but it was the rest of the Tigers who did damage, and the Indians fell in their first-ever state title game appearance in a 55-41 loss Saturday in Green Bay.
Plagued by inconsistent foul shooting (10 of 18) and an inability to get looks at the basket in the second half, the Indians (25-3) saw a 21-18 lead with 2:10 to go in the first half melt away, and Riverside went on a 14-4 run starting late in the third that put the Tigers in front the rest of the way.
“They’re really good and we didn’t play our best game,” Mukwoango coach Todd Frohwirth said. “That’s called life, and it happens in tournaments all the time. We have great kids, and everything’s OK.”
MHS senior guard Jenny Tuttle closed her career with 10 points and 8 rebounds, finishing a season in which she was named first-team All State by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association.
Facing the preseason No. 1-ranked team among Wisconsin’s D1 schools, Mukwonago initially appeared equal to the task. Amber Gray led the way in the paint for the first three quarters, and her rebound putback attempt drew Lewis’ third foul with 4:20 to go in the second half.
“Even when you accomplish small little goals, we lacked a run today,” Frohwirth said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well.”
But even though the Kansas State recruit Lewis (10 points, 6 rebounds) was a non-factor and Mukwonago won the points in the paint battle, 28-16, the Indians had trouble containing Riverside’s young guard tandem of sophomore Amani Wilborn and freshman Alona Johnson, who both poured in 15 points.
“They were probably quicker than normal guards we see in conference, but a lot of us play AAU ball so we’re familiar with quick guards,” Tuttle said.
Mukwonago shot 35.8 percent for the game, which was better than Riverside (30.6 percent), but the Tigers dominated the boards, 41-28, winning virtually every loose ball under the basket.
“We were just trying to calm down and start playing well,” Frohwirth said of his halftime approach. “No adjustments, nothing like that. The ball hit the front of the rim probably 15 times, which hasn’t happened to us in a year and a half.”
Gray, who also scored 8 straight points for the Indians in the third quarter, matched Bre Cera with 11 points for team-high honors.
The Indians had reached the state tournament five times previously but won a game at state for the first time since 1979 with a 20-point victory over Arrowhead on Friday at the Resch Center. The first trip to the state final came in the second year under head coach Todd Frohwirth, who guided the Indians to a 12-12 record last season.
The Mukwonago boys also fell in the state championship game one week earlier, matching the program’s deepest run into the tournament. The wrestling team also qualified for state in a decorated winter. Only Oostburg (2011) has qualified a team for team wrestling, boys state and girls state in the same season since 2000.
“Mukwonago’s a great team,” said Riverside coach Donald Nelson. “They made us work for it. We had to keep chipping at it, and our pressure finally wore them down and we were able to open it up. It’s an amazing feeling to have a group of young ladies like this giving it their all.”
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