ASHWAUBENON — Paige Schumann was disappointed with how she played in the Beaver Dam girls basketball team’s state semifinal victory Friday, when the junior scored three points and committed five turnovers.
Schumann knew she had a shot at redemption in the state title game — and she came through in a big way.
The Eastern Illinois commit, who averaged seven points per game in the regular season, scored 14 points — none bigger than two 3-pointers to get the Golden Beavers going in the first half.
Schumann’s strong effort paired with her team’s smothering, relentless defense helped top-ranked Beaver Dam defeat New Berlin Eisenhower 51-41 in the WIAA Division 2 state championship game Saturday night at the Resch Center for its second title in as many years.
“The other day I was kind of a little mad at myself for how I played, so I knew I had to step it up and it was a big game,” Schumann said. “My team always has my back, so I think we both had momentum and we just kept going.”
Despite shooting just 7-for-30 (23.3 percent) in the first half, Beaver Dam led 20-16 because of its hounding defensive effort. It forced 14 turnovers and collected six offensive rebounds.
“Last year, we shot 14 percent in the championship game from 3s, so that was maybe a little bit better even,” Beaver Dam coach Tim Chase said. “We struggled a little bit shooting this year. But defense, gosh, our defense was good this year. Just came to play. Our kids just have that tenacious outlook about defense. They bring it every day, they love to play defense. I think that’s what’s made us different this year.”
Defense is an aspect of the game that Chase’s players really bought into this season.
“We’re a team of heart, I think, and defense you need heart,” Schumann said. “So, I think that’s what we just go for. With defense comes offense.”
“A lot of people get their mojo off making shots, but ours today came from our defense and our steals,” said Beaver Dam guard Maty Wilke, who scored a team-high 16 points and had seven rebounds.
Beaver Dam, which beat Eisenhower 61-48 on Jan. 20, had a rough start, going 0-for-8 from the field and trailing 5-0. But a pair of 3-pointers by Schumann helped the Golden Beavers go ahead 10-7. After a run by Eisenhower (24-4) to take back the lead, Natalie Jens had a dump-down pass to Aly Van Loo for a layup to tie it at 14.
Beaver Dam (25-2) ended the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 20-16 lead into halftime.
Beaver Dam stretched its run to 13-2 — while Eisenhower went scoreless for 6 minutes, 1 second — to take a 25-16 lead after Tara Stauffacher’s three-point play. With Beaver Dam leading 43-32, Julia Hintz made a 3-pointer and a basket by Nikki Dienberg cut Eisenhower’s deficit to 43-37.
But Beaver Dam hit six free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win.
After last season’s memorable run to the program’s first state title, the Beaver Dam players came into this season prepared for success. Schumann said the second championship may have been more difficult than the first.
“We worked just as hard, probably even harder,” Schumann said. “We wanted to make BD (Beaver Dam) proud.”
The Golden Beavers certainly accomplished that goal.
“For me, personally, last year was elation, I mean it really was,” Chase said. “It was just an unbelievable feeling to get that state championship, the first one in program history. This year, it’s satisfaction.”
New Berlin Eisenhower 16 25 — 41
Beaver Dam 20 31 — 51
NEW BERLIN EISENHOWER — Plockelman 6-14 2-2 15, Hedman 2-5 0-0 5, Hintz 3-9 2-2 10, Ludwig 0-6 0-0 0, Putney 0-0 0-0 0, Majinski 1-1 0-0 2, Dienberg 4-4 0-0 9. Totals 16-39 4-4 41.
BEAVER DAM — Stauffacher 1-11 1-1 3, Bartol 2-4 1-2 5, Schumann 5-10 2-3 14, Donaldson 0-4 4-4 4, Wilke 4-14 6-6 16, Jens 1-2 0-0 2, Prado 1-1 0-0 2, Ferron 0-3 0-0 0, Van Loo 2-4 1-2 5. Totals 16-53 15-18 51.
3-point goals — NBE 5-16 (Hintz 2-6, Dienberg 1-1, Plockelman 1-2, Hedman 1-3, Ludwig 0-4), BD 4-20 (Schumann 2-3, Wilke 2-6, Ferron 0-1, Donaldson 0-2, Stauffacher 0-8). Rebounds — NBE 31 (Plockelman, Hedman 8), BD 30 (Wilke 7). Assists — NBE 7 (Hintz 3), BD 12 (Schumann, Wilke 3). Turnovers — NBE 19, BD 7. Steals — NBE 3 (Hintz 2), BD 9 (Schumann, Wilke 4). Blocks — NBE 0, BD 2 (Van Loo 2). Total fouls — NBE 17, BD 11.