Myranda Kotlowski’s steady hand and confidence under pressure are traits that helped her thrive as one of the best golfers in the state.
The Stoughton senior guard used those same traits on the hardwood to propel the Vikings to a 60-52 home win over McFarland in a Division 2 regional quarterfinal on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Kotlowski tied for the team-lead with 14 points and sank all six of her free throws in the final minute.
“Once I made the first couple, I was pretty confident I would make the other ones,” said Kotlowski, who is a Colorado Mesa University golf commit. “I was taking it like it was practice.”
Stoughton ended its season with a 51-28 road loss to DeForest in the regional semifinals on Friday, Feb. 28. The Vikings finished 8-16.
DeForest 51, Stoughton 28
The Vikings trailed 35-14 at halftime and couldn’t mount a double-digit comeback against the Norskies.
Stoughton sophomore Ava Loftus scored a team-high 11 points. Senior Delaney Seidel and sophomore Mya Davidson each chipped in six points.
DeForest had three players in double figures. Maggie Trautsch scored a game-high 13 points.
Stoughton 60, McFarland 52
The Vikings made all eight of their free throws in the final 48 seconds to seal the victory over the Spartans.
Stoughton shot 80.7% (21-for-26) from the charity stripe.
“That’s a senior who did not want things to end,” Stoughton coach Brad Pickett said of Kotlowski. “That is what the tournament is about and she stepped up big.
“I thought we did a great job at the end of the game taking care of the ball and not turning it over so they could get out in transition. The big key was us handling the pressure and knocking down free throws.”
Stoughton survived a monster game from McFarland junior Katie Hildebrandt, who erupted for a game-high 28 points. Pickett said the Vikings did a better job of making the 6-foot-1 forward work for her points in the second half.
“She’s tough,” he said. “She can score inside and step out and shoot it.”
The Vikings, on the other hand, were balanced offensively. Loftus scored 14 points and Davidson posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Seidel added 12 points despite battling foul trouble in the second half.
Seidel drilled a 3-pointer and then made a reverse layup after an offensive rebound to give the Vikings a 32-25 lead with 15:51 left in the second half. The Spartans used a 7-0 run to tie the game, Loftus ended the spurt with a 3.
McFarland junior Morgan Butler knocked down a 3 to give the visitors a 46-45 lead with 5:52 remaining. Davidson then got the hot hand scoring down low and drained a 3 to give the Vikings a 52-48 lead with 2:27 left.
Both teams struggled shooting in the first half and the Vikings had seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes. Hildebrandt scored seven of the Spartans’ first eight points.
Stoughton used a 10-1 run, highlighted by a Loftus 3 and senior Riley Royston’s layup, to take an 18-12 lead. The Spartans closed the first half with a flurry by scoring in transition and Hildebrandt banked in a 3 at the buzzer to tie the game at 25 at the break.
“I love a challenge and you just have to adjust to the players like that,” Davidson said of guarding Hildebrandt. “I think we did a pretty good job of guarding her.”
Davidson scored 10 points in the second half and took advantage of her touches in the post. Pickett liked the way she jump-stopped and attacked off two feet instead of getting off-balance.
“She works on her footwork every day in practice. It carried over into the game,” he said. “She’s a sponge. She wants to keep getting better and that is a credit to her.”