March 10, 2018
Green Bay – Coming into the 2017-2018 season the Amherst Falcon girls basketball team had three goals: win Conference, win regionals, and win sectionals they accomplished all of those which meant they were on their way to the programs first state appearance since 2009 and a chance to win coach Gregg Jensen his first championship.
Unfortunately the cinderella slipper did not fit for the Amherst Falcon girls and fell 63-55 in a very hard fought battle with the Marshall Cardinals. The Falcons did win coach Jensen’s first state tournament ball, though silver, still an extremely huge accomplishment.
After winning a grind it out game on Thursday over Saint Thomas More, 45-32, the Falcons had a match up with Marshall who knocked off Wisconsin Dells in their state semi-final.
The Marshall Cardinals got off to the quick start against the Falcons that Amherst usually gets against their opponents and the Falcons found themselves down 17-7 early in the first half.
After a media timeout the Falcons came out and went on a 24-13 run to end the first half and have a 31-30 lead and had lots of momentum going into the locker room.
However, much like the first half when Amherst got off to a slow and cold start Marshall was able to use a 12-0 run to open the second half and take a 42-31 lead before the Falcons could score their first bucket of the second half.
The Falcons were able to withstand that run and used a run of their own to storm back and get the deficit down to a single point, but were unable to get over the hump and were never able to get the lead back.
Amherst head coach Gregg Jensen talked about how his team was able to withstand the runs and get back into the game with a chance to win down the stretch.
“We got down, I believe it was by 10 I’m not a math major,” Jensen said jokingly. “I know we got down and came back, we took the lead in the first half. Second half we didn’t come out well, got down but we kept working.”
Free throws down the stretch for Marshall freshman Mia Morel who hit 6 of 6 to seal the deal helped the Cardinals win their first state championship since 1976.
The Falcons battled from start to finish and were led in scoring by UW-Oshkosh commit Heather Pearson who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds and she talked about her experience in her final game.
“I wanted to end my season with going to state… but I was just happy to just get something,” Pearson said. “I told those girls, going into the game we play out hearts out tonight, we leave everything on the floor and they did, I’m happy with what they did.”
Though not winning the gold ball the Falcons finish the season 26-2 and the Amherst High School will have another trophy to add to the trophy case this year.
Coach Jensen was asked about his moment with Pearson after the game in line waiting for the trophy presentation.
“She came up as a freshman, and if you would’ve seen her as a freshman, you would have appreciated the way she played today,” Jensen said about Pearson. “When she was a freshman I was hoping to get five minutes out of her, which usually meant five fouls in three or four minutes. She’s come a long way, she’s been a force for us inside and I think her best years are ahead of her.”
Pearson, to go along with those 16 points, 11 rebounds she also finished with 7 blocks.
The other Falcons chipped in as they always do led by Geena Jensen who hit 3 three pointers and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. Lauren Boelte finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds for Amherst. Grace Moe finished with 2 points, but also dished out 6 assists as well.
Amherst finishes the season 26-2 and returned to Amherst with the silver ball in hand.
We would like to congratulate the Amherst Falcon girls team and head coach Gregg Jensen for such a great season and wish best of luck to Heather Pearson and Maizie Berry in their future endeavors.
Marshall (63) – Anna Lutz 16, Mia Morel 21, Samira Arvin 7, Reonna Huettner 6, Ceraya Morel 3, Laura Nickel 10
Amherst (55) – Grace Moe 2, Geena Jensen 13, Ashley Groshek 4, Maizie Berry 1, Lindsay Dose 9, Lauren Boelte 10, Heather Pearson 16