By Greg Bates
ACN & Times-Press
When Hailey Oskey and Jenna Krause are having off nights from the field, that’s not a do-or-die situation for the Seymour girls basketball team.
The balance throughout the squad’s lineup is what makes them a well-rounded squad with the best record in all of Division 2.
Seymour’s two leading scorers combined for just eight fields and shot under 30 percent from the field, but their teammates stepped up. Aubrey Buchholtz scored 15 points and was instrumental in helping No. 1-seeded Seymour build a big first-half lead en route to a 64-50 victory over No. 5 seeded Green Bay Southwest in a WIAA Division 2 regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Buchholtz has been known to be an X-factor for the team. After missing all of her junior season with an ACL injury, she has bounced back to average 11.6 points per game this year.
“She’s made us so much more balanced because she can score inside, she can shoot it, obviously,” Seymour coach Bobby Kuchta said. “She’s just another scoring threat for us, which takes pressure off of Hailey and Jenna.”
“I don’t get relied on a lot, when I need to step up, I will,” Buchholtz said.
It’s the second straight season Seymour has won a regional title.
“It means a lot,” Buchholtz said. “We’ve been working for this all summer long, and ever since our loss to Beaver Dam this is just another step to getting back there and hopefully meeting them again.”
“That was one of our goals — good to check it off the list now,” Kuchta said. “There’s no easy games. It’s good to get a nice early lead, so you have a little breathing room. It’s big. Can’t take these for granted because they don’t come around that often.”
Seymour, which is ranked No. 2 in Division 2 in the final regular season WisSports.net Coaches Poll, didn’t make it easy on themselves. The team shot about 35 percent from the field, 53 percent (20-for-28) from the free throw line and missed a few easy looks in the paint.
“It shows a lot about our team and the depth we have and the balance when you win by 14 and have an off night from the line and from the field,” Kuchta said.
“We told the girls, ‘It doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win in the playoffs.’ That’s kind of the message, you’ve got to find a way to win.”
Krause wasn’t too concerned about the off night, because her teammates stepped up.
“You’re going to have the days that you’re off, but if one of us is off, another one is on,” Krause said. “We share the ball and just work really well together. That says a lot about our team chemistry, too.”
According to Buchholtz, when the team isn’t shooting well it tries to amp up its defense. The team’s defense had its work cut out for themselves against Southwest’s Jaddan Simmons. The sophomore, who is starting to get heavily recruited by Division I colleges, finished with 25 of her team’s 50 points.
“That was a lot of our focus was to slow her down, so that’s why we played 2-3,” Krause said. “We just tried to stop her as much as we could. She still got some points, that’s going to happen.”
With a fired up home crowd, Seymour (23-1) took advantage of the extra energy in the building. Krause got a steal and layup to put her team up 9-3. Simmons hit a pair of free throws to pull Southwest (15-9) within 23-17, but Seymour responded on a 12-2 run to end the half. Joeley Bluma and Krause each nailed 3-pointers in the final minute to give Seymour a 35-19 advantage.
Seymour’s lead ballooned to 19 points, 43-24, but Southwest wouldn’t go away. Caitlyn Thiel hit a 3 and the Trojans were down just nine, 55-46, with 2:44 remaining. Krause built Seymour’s back up by making 5 of 6 free throws to give her team a comfortable lead. Simmons fouled out with 1:56 left to end Southwest’s upside bid.
Despite a tough shooting night, Krause finished with a team-high 16 points and Oskey added 14. Raven VandenLangenberg came through with eight.
Seymour beat Kaukauna 63-48 in its playoff opener on Feb. 23.
The Seymour Thunder girls basketball team captured
the WIAA Division 2 Regional title by defeating Green Bay Southwest 64-50 on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Pictured, Back row; left to right: Head Coach Bobby Kuchta, Coach Berri West, Skye DeGroot, Morgan Seitz, Brooke Veldt, Chloe Evans, Breann Riehl, Kylee VandenLangenberg, Kennedy Peters, Dinah King, Coach Lora Danforth and Bruce Johnson. Front row: Joeley Bluma, Jenna Krause, Ra
ven VandenLangenberg, Aubrey Buchholtz and Hailey Oskey. – Photo by Rick Cohler
Seymour girls basketball team gathers at the Buchholtz house before games at 611 Pleasant Way, Seymour to check out their Lady Thunder Game clock and thermometer. It tracks their path to the State Tournament. Left side of the clock: Left to right; back row: Kennedy Peters, Hailey Oskey and Raven VandenLangenberg. Front row Kylee VandenLangenberg. Right side; back row: Chloe Evans, Morgan Seitz and Brooke Veldt. Middle row: Kendra Johnson, Jenna Krause and Aubrey Buchholtz. Front row: Breann Riehl and Joeley Bluma. – Photo by Ken Hodgden
No 44, Aubrey Buchholtz and No.11 Raven VandenLangenberg fight for position going after a rebound in Friday’s Feb. 23 game against the Kaukauna Galloping Ghosts. The thunder went onto win the game 63 to 48. – Photo by Ken Hodgden
Seymour’s Brooke Veldt takes a shot, eluding Green Bay Southwest defender Lauren LePine during the Thunder’s 64-50 win over Green Bay Southwest to take the WIAA Regional title on Saturday, Feb. 24. – Photo courtesy Rick Cohler
By Greg Bates