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The 'dream' run continues! Lena girls basketball moving on to D5 state title game

After a 53-48 victory in Friday's semifinal, the Wildcats will now play for their first girls basketball state championship since 1980!
Posted at 3:10 PM, Mar 08, 2024

The Lena girls basketball team is just one win away from its first state championship since 1980.

The Wildcats defeated Clear Lake, 53-48, in Friday's WIAA Division 5 state championship to advance to Saturday's state title game.

  • Lena junior Eva Brooks led the way with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Sophomore Madi Thomson chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds, including 10 points in the second half.
  • Lena turned the ball over 20 times, but held Clear Lake to just 28 percent shooting.
  • The Wildcats will play Albany/Monticello Saturday in the Division 5 state championship. Tip-off is set for 11:05 a.m. at the Resch Center.
  • This is Lena's fourth state tournament appearance; the program won a state championship in 1980.

Hundreds of fans were packed in behind Lena's bench to watch the Wildcats play one of their biggest games in program history.
"It's unbelievable the support we have," Lena head coach Tim Goldschmidt said. "Not only from our community but all the surrounding communities. Everybody willing to give donations."

"It's a dream come true," he continued. "The support is very helpful in big games like this in a big venue."

Goldschmidt was a junior in high school at Lena in 1980, the last time the Wildcats won a state championship.

That was just the fifth iteration of the WIAA girls basketball state tournament, which launched in 1976,

"Obviously it was a different era," Goldschmidt said. "It was a lot different, but there were a lot of similarities to what's happening now."

"Our community was very supportive back then and it even got bigger this year," he added.

Friday's semifinal game featured six ties and six lead changes, but Lena was in control for much of the game. The Wildcats led for 23:06 of the 36 minutes.

After Clear Lake tied the game at 29 early in the second half, Lena went on a 15-6 scoring run to open it up.

"It was great for the momentum," sophomore Madi Thomson, who scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half, said. "It doesn't matter who does it, we just all pick up off of things that our teammates do. So having that happen and then keeping it going was big for us to take our lead and keep it."

Now the Wildcats will look to keep that momentum going into Championship Saturday. They play Albany/Monticello, which upset the No. 1 seed Argyle/Pecatonica, 37-31, Friday morning.

"I didn't envision it at all or expect it, but I'm happy we got here," junior forward Eva Brooks said. "It takes a lot of hard work so I'm just happy our dreams could come true."