Bartow, Verona too much for Cooney
Ashley Bartow will not be invited to the Oconomowoc girls basketball banquet.
The Verona standout and Drake University recruit was an obstacle at the end of the road last year, when she scored 18 points and led Verona to a 60-53 win past Oconomowoc in the sectional semifinal. This year, Bartow arrived earlier in the postseason ladder, scoring 23 points as Verona again knocked off Cooney in the WIAA playoffs.
The Wildcats staged a 48-40 victory over the visiting Raccoons on Friday. Bartow, who scored 10 of her points in the first quarter, gave her team a lead it never relinquished with three straight baskets to close the first period.
"We talked about her a lot at halftime; we talked about her all week, but you don't want kids thinking there's only one kid you need to stop," Cooney first-year coach Bob Shea said. "Other kids hit some big shots tonight. I thought defensively, it wasn't awful. There were a couple times 24 (Bartow) got free and just had some open looks.
"She's quick off the drive," he added. "Help on her was sometimes slow, but we haven't seen many players like her."
Oconomowoc (13-10) rode the long-range shooting of Carly Hall to pull back into a 19-19 tie midway through the second quarter, but the Wildcats closed with the final five points of the half. Hall hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 13 points.
"We're not usually focused on shooters because we haven't really faced good shooters like this team," Bartow said. "We had to make sure where they were. They always got their girls open on the bottom; we're not used to having three on the bottom (in the zone)."
But Verona constantly got free after recovering loose balls underneath, taking a rebound advantage that helped the Wildcats overcome a 14-9 turnover deficit.
"Tonight, we were just going after it," Bartow said. "We knew we had to get those extra possessions."
Mandy Prom scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half and helped the Raccoons linger closely. Abby Thelen hit a triple with 4:35 left to pull OHS within 39-35, but the Raccoons hit just one field goal the rest of the way.
"In the girls' defense, when teams are playing zone, it's hard to just come down and get shots," Shea said. "You don't just run set plays, pop a couple screens and get a look. I thought we played OK. We lost to a good team. We obviously can play better."
Verona (16-7) will face Middleton on Saturday.
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