Sports

Unity girls capture WIAA regional title

Above The Fold Media | For the Leader
Unity’s Sydney Bader pulls down a rebound. - File photo by Eugene Sikorski
Face Chetek-Weyerhaeuser this Thursday in ectional play
BALSAM LAKE – Regional competition wasn’t near competitive for the Unity girls basketball team. 
Now the Eagles will see if sectional competition can pose a challenge. 
They finished the regular season with a nine-game winning streak and extended their roll with consecutive wins over Boyceville and Ladysmith, earning their first regional title in over 30 years. 
Unity earned a first-round bye for the postseason and began with a 65-25 rout over Boyceville in the Friday, Feb. 28, semifinal. Raegan Sorensen and Sierra Swanson had 18 points each for the Eagles, who scored 17 more points in the first half than Boyceville did in the game. 
Sorensen led the way with 13 points in the first half, matching the Bulldogs team total in the first half. Swanson added 12 points and Myah Nelson had 10 before halftime. Unity took a 42-13 lead into the break and was able to cruise in the second. 
The Eagles finished the game 13-for-18 at the free-throw line while Boyceville made just six of its 18 attempts in the game. 
Nelson had 14 points in the game for Unity; Madison Strange had nine and Sidney Bader added six. Only two Bulldogs had more than one make from the floor in the game and none of their players reached double-digit points. Kady Grombow led the team with eight points, six of those coming on 3-pointers. 
Another lopsided decision benefited the Eagles on Saturday, with a 69-32 win over Ladysmith in the regional championship game. Sorensen scored a game-high 22 points, leading the Eagles to a large first-half lead despite the efforts of Ladysmith’s top two scorers. 
Raemalee Smith scored 10 first-half points for the Lumberjacks while Emma Dieckman added eight, including six points from 3-point range. However, they were the lone two Ladysmith scorers in the first half and their total wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with Unity. 
Sorensen had 13 points in the first half and Nelson added eight, giving the Eagles a 37-18 lead entering the break. The advantage increased in the second half with Unity holding Ladysmith to just 14 second-half points. 
The Eagles finished with a substantial advantage at the free-throw line, making 14 of their 25 attempts compared to Ladysmith’s 2-for-2 total. 
Swanson finished with 15 points for Unity; Strange had 10 and Nelson had nine. Smith led the Lumberjacks with 16 points and Dieckman had 11, though the rest of Ladysmith’s roster totaled just five points. 
Unity goes to Chetek-Weyerhaeuser this Thursday, March 5, for the sectional opener against Colfax. The matchup features two teams with 20-plus wins this season; the Eagles enter with a 20-3 overall record while the Vikings are 21-3. Unity coach Joe Tilton isn’t expecting another blowout victory. 
"Colfax is a very good, disciplined and well-coached team,” Tilton said. "We will have to play well to give ourselves a chance at the end.”
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.


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