The Milaca Wolves had to use one of their last-minute comeback specials against the Foley Falcons earlier in the season, but their section battle, on Thursday night, was a lot less dramatic.
The Wolves jumped to an 18-5 lead in the first eight minutes and forty seconds of action and never looked back, completely overpowering Foley, 72-45, in the first round of section 6AA.
“We were just more determined because of playoffs and in playoffs you have to rise to your talent,” Milaca’s sophomore guard Jerica Ploeger said. “We’ve grown so much since we played them, too.”
In the opening minutes, Ploeger drove into the lane with ease, creating contact and getting layup chances. Senior forward Caitlin Richardson also was able to get inside, cutting to the basket in timing with Erika Maalis’ strong interior passes. Ploeger and Richardson would force a bulk of the nine Falcon fouls in the first nine minutes of play and combine for 17 points during a 37-22 first half lead.
“We are really good at boosting ourselves up [to start a game]. That energy just comes from inside of us,” Ploeger said.
On the other hand, Foley was consistently forced to take shots from the perimeter and few were falling. They shot just 27 percent from the field in the first half. The Wolves shot 47 percent.
It was much of the same in the second. Caitlin Richardson consistently scored from the interior to finish with a game-high 23 points and the Wolves pulled away for a blowout playoff win at home.
“So far, we’re playing at a peak,” Milaca coach David Leom said. “It was an all-around team effort.”
The Wolves advance to play the top seed in their subsection, Rush City, on Saturday, Mar. 4. The Tigers are a perfect 23-0.
“Let’s just say I hope we get the first win,” Leom said.
The game will be at St. John’s University at 1 p.m.