Having vanquished one of the top teams in the state, the Cedarburg girls basketball team now sets its sights on the top team in Division 2.
The Bulldogs downed fifth-ranked Plymouth with a surprisingly easy 62-44 victory on Feb. 25 to capture their fifth consecutive WIAA regional championship and improve to 18-6 on the season.
They will now take on top-seeded and top-ranked Beaver Dam (24-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at Hartford High School in a sectional semifinal contest.
The winner will go to the sectional title game against either West DePere (22-1) or Seymour (19-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at Neenah High School.
Beaver Dam will be a rugged test indeed. The Golden Beavers have won all of their games by at least 13 points this season, with their closest contests being 49-36 over Pius XI, 66-50 over New Berlin Eisenhower and 61-47 over Slinger, the second-place team in the Little Ten Conference.
Beaver Dam downed Port Washington, 85-46, and Slinger, 67-46, to win their regional.
"They are really good," Cedarburg coach Dave Ross said. "They play somewhat like Plymouth, using a fast pace. They have about eight kids who score about 10 points per game."
They are led by Cassidy Trotter, who averages 15.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Tara Stauffacher puts in 11.5 points per game and Paige Schumann 8.6 per outing. Kara Crowley adds 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
"We have to give them some different looks," Ross said, "and hope they have somewhat of an off night."
Ross is hoping his team can play like it did against Plymouth (21-3).
"We played by far our best all-around game," he said. "We scored inside and outside. Everything was working."
The Bulldogs were up 21-13 with about a minute left in the first half when Quinn Prom converted a three-point play and Kennedy Ross drilled a 3-point field goal at the buzzer to make it 27-13.
Cedarburg maintained a lead of about 14 to 20 points in the second half.
"If they made a run, we answered," Ross said. "The kids really played well."
Kalli Murphy finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Ross had 17 points. Elaina LaMacchia contributed seven points, five rebounds and three steals; Abby Belschner seven points, six rebounds and two steals and Prom 7 points.
Cedarburg advanced by beating West Bend West, 58-54, on Feb. 21 behind a career-high 22 points by Morgan Wallace, including six 3-pointers. Murphy added 15 points and Ross and Belschner each eight points.
"Morgan was in the zone," coach Ross said. "She hit five straight threes in the first half."