By Garth Shanklin
The year of the Wildcat continued on the hardwood on Monday, Feb. 26.
Dating back to the start of the 2016-2017 school year, the Williamsburg Lady Wildcats have won sectional titles in girls’ volleyball (twice), softball (along with a state title), and, as of Feb. 26, basketball.
Seven years to the day since the school’s last sectional title win, the Lady Wildcats survived a tough test from Gamble Montessori in a 52-46 victory at Fairfield High School.
“It feels good,” head coach Mike Madsen said. “It’s the second sectional sectional title in the history of the school. It means a lot to the girls.”
The team earned the title, having endured a 32-minute slugfest, at times literally. Williamsburg’s largest lead of the game was an 8-0 spurt to start the contest. Gamble fought back, making the score 10-7 after one period.
Both teams put up 18 points in the second quarter, giving the Lady Wildcats a 28-25 lead at the break. Williamsburg could not buy a basket in the first half, shooting just nine of 34 from the floor.
They were worse in the second, at just four of 21. However, those stats didn’t matter to Gamble, as the Lady Gators were seemingly content with fouling the Lady Wildcats whenever they felt like. Williamsburg shot 31 free-throws and made 24, whiel Gamble made just three of their 14 attempts.
“We were very tight tonight and this was a physical game,” Madsen said. “Anytime you’re shooting 35, 40 free throws in a game and between the two teams your shooting over 50, it tells you how physical the game was. That’s what their game plan was. Their plan was to push us to be physical and to foul us.”
Madsen credited the Lady Wildcats’ prowess at the free-throw line, along with their rebounding, for the victory.
“They made three, and I think we made 20 something,” Madsen said. “That’s the difference in the game, that and rebounding. “
Williamsburg pulled down 44 rebounds, though Gamble tallied 50. However, Williamsburg was able to score 24 points off Gamble turnovers, while the Gators managed just 10 off Williamsburg.
Paige Fisher and Jessica Chase both earned player of the game honors from 99.5 The Edge after the game, and Madsen said he agreed with that decision.
“They both deserved it, because without [Paige Fisher] rebounding the ball and without [Jessica Chase] hitting free throws down the line, we’re in trouble without either one of them. If you look at it, the two young players came through for us. There was a junior and a freshman player of the game, I think that bodes well for us for the next couple years.”
Jessica Chase led Williamsburg with 24 points. Paige Fisher led the squad with 12 rebounds. Alexis Chase made just two shots from the floor, but connected on eight of 10 free-throws for 12 points. Peyton Fisher added 11. Jessica Chase also had eight rebounds, while Alexis Chase snagged nine. Jessica Chase also tallied four steals for Williamsburg.
This year’s team now has a shot at the school’s first-ever district title. They will face either Anna on Saturday, March 3, at 3 p.m. The game is scheduled to be played at Springfield High School.