Pirettes end season as state semifinalists
Members of the 2012-13 Poth Pirette basketball team gather at midcourt after falling to Merkel 56-47 in the state semifinal game played March 1 in Austin. The Pirettes finish the year with an overall record of 28-6, and Coach Peggy Hosek ends her run in Poth with a total of 831 career wins.
AUSTIN -- After winning the Region IV title yet again, the Poth Pirette basketball team made the short drive to Austin last weekend to participate in the state tournament. The Pirettes took on Merkel in a state semifinal, but fell in a hard-fought battle by the final score of 56-47, ending Poth’s season, and closing out a magnificent career in Poth for Head Coach Peggy Hosek.
Merkel won the opening tipoff with the aid of its 6-footers, but Poth senior Micah Weaver dropped in the game’s first 2 points. The Badgers came back to score with a basket and free throw, but Poth senior Ashley Fuller helped the Pirettes regain the lead with a pair of buckets from beyond the 3-point arc. Merkel came back with a pair of baskets to pull within a point at 8-7, and Fuller added points 7, 8, and 9 for herself with another from 3-point land.
Trailing 11-7, the Badgers went on the offensive, working the ball inside and taking advantage of the height differential. Merkel scored 6 points to overtake Poth at 13-11, but Devon Dylla drew a foul and drained a pair of free throws to even the score at 13-all. Merkel made the last basket of the first period, a 3-pointer that put the Badgers on top 16-13 after the first eight minutes of play.
Just as she had done to start the game, Weaver scored the first basket of the second stanza, and Poth was within a point. Merkel responded with 6 points to make it a 22-15 lead, and Weaver scored to snap the streak. The Badgers then added a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers, and held an 11-point lead at 28-17. Poth fought its way back into the game though, and cut the lead to 7 at 28-21. The Badgers took a couple of trips to the charity stripe to close out the first half, added 3 points on free throws, and led 31-21 at the break.
Hosek got her team refocused during the break, and the Pirettes returned to the floor with renewed spirit. Senior Annika Eckel scored the first basket of the third period, followed by fellow senior Kelli Kolodziej with a 3-pointer. Fuller then drilled her fourth 3-pointer of the day, and Poth was within a basket, trailing 31-29. The Badgers added another basket to increase the lead to two possessions, but Fuller dropped in a pair of free throws and Weaver scored on a 15-footer to tie the game at 33-all. Merkel retook the lead with its inside game, then added a free throw to end the third period with a 36-33 lead over the Pirettes.
Merkel started the fourth period of play with the hot hand, hitting a 3-pointer and field goal to increase its lead to 41-33. Dylla scored to bring Poth back to within 6, but the Badgers responded. Danielle Felux hit a free throw and sophomore Dominique DeHoyos dropped in a basket on a fast-break opportunity, and the score stood at 43-38. Fuller scored on a pair of free throws shortly thereafter, and the score was 43-40, with Poth closing in.
The Badgers went back to work inside, and scored a pair of baskets to put the lead back at 7. Fuller kept things from getting out of hand with a Pirette bucket, and Kolodziej scored another 2 points to keep Poth within 5 points. Unfortunately for the Pirettes, things began to fall apart at that point. The Badgers were into double bonus and practically every whistle sent a Merkel player to the stripe. The Badgers shot about 70 percent from the line in the closing minutes of the game, and it was enough to stay out in front of the Pirettes. Weaver scored Poth’s final basket of the game on a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, but it only kept Poth close enough to maintain hope. Some missed Pirette opportunities and good defense by Merkel eventually locked up the Badger win, 56-47.
For many of the Pirettes, it was their final game in a Poth uniform. It was also the final game for Hosek, the legendary coach with such an impressive record. In terms of wins, the final mark was 831. One thing is for sure, it is going to be hard to fill her shoes in Poth next year, not to mention the holes left by the graduation of seniors Weaver, Fuller, Kolodziej, Eckel, Felux, and Jennifer Kruse.
Still, the Pirettes had another fantastic season. The team finished with an overall record of 28-6, won a share of the district title, an area championship, and eventually another Region IV title. The team made another trip to the state tournament, its eighth time in nine years, and finishes as state semifinalists.
Congratulations, Pirettes, and good luck to Coach Peggy Hosek -- she will be missed.