The Oregon High School girls basketball team had a tough time overcoming a free throw difference, and its season came to an end after a 55-46 loss to Waunakee in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal on Friday, Feb. 12, at Baraboo High School.
Waunakee shot more than three times the free throws Oregon did and made about four times more. The Warriors shot 20 of 36 from the charity stripe compared to the Panthers’ shooting 6 of 10.
Oregon coach Adam Wamsley said the difference was at the free throw line.
“It’s hard to overcome a plus-14 differential in free throws,” Wamsley said.
The Warriors built a 22-18 lead at the half and led by as many as 13 points in the second half. Oregon senior Emily Statz scored on a layup with 4 minutes, 27 seconds left to slice the Warriors’ lead to 44-43 before Waunakee closed the game with an 11-3 run.
Oregon, a WIAA Division 2 state qualifier last year, finished 7-3 in a shortened season where they played all games on the road and were prohibited from having contact in practices in Dane County.
“I was heartbroken after the game for the girls,” Wamsley said. “I love the girls’ heart. They left it all out on the court.”
Oregon junior guard Payton Lang scored a team-high 14 points and hit four 3-pointers. She grabbed eight rebounds and was 6 of 6 at the free throw line. Senior guard Carliegh Roberts added 13 points, had five rebounds and five assists.
Senior forward Emily Statz chipped in 10 points and had a team-high nine rebounds. The Panthers shot 34% (17 of 50) and shot 27.2% from 3-point range (6 of 22).
“We had a lot of open looks,” Wamsley said. “We just couldn’t make a timely shot to get the lead.”
Oregon played the game without junior guard and co-leading scorer Emily Mortenson, who suffered a torn ACL against Sauk Prairie and missed the final five games. She was also the team’s leading 3-point shooter at 41.7% (10 of 24) in five games played.
Wamsley said having Mortenson’s 3-point shooting or the team making a couple more shots beyond the arc could have made a difference against the Warriors.
“She was our biggest cheerleader,” he said. “We want her to be fully healthy when she comes back to the court.”
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and competitions now allowed in the county, Wamsley looks forward to getting back to a traditional summer season where the team can have open gyms, play in summer leagues and tournaments.
“The goal and expectation is to have our usual summer activities like open gyms, leagues and tournaments,” he said. “I’m hopeful when they come back, they can return to work on their game.”