We Love the Lady Cougars of Clinton, Wisconsin!!!!!!
For those of you who have been following the Lady Cougars and their quest for a state championship in basketball... we are proud to announce that the Lady Cougars are your 2003 Division 3 State Champions!!!
Congratulations go out to:
Amanda Dietz, Ami Peterson, Aundrea Fleck, Brittany Korth, Chrissy Nilson, Diedra Mueller, Hannah Schultz, Kim Boudreau, Jacqueline Kane, Kayla Schultz, Kelsey Duoss, Nancy Carranza, Samantha Holcomb, Sarah Gracyalny, Stacey Blue, Christina Mueller and the entire coaching staff.
Special Congratulations go to Kim Boudreau, Kelsey Duoss, and Brittany Korth who made the All-tournament team. Clinton was the only school to get three players on the All-tournament team...
One cannot say enough about the small town experience... On our way back into the town of Clinton after winning the State Championship we were met by a number of police cars, fire engines, ambulances, snow plows, and even a dump truck as they escorted our school bus and hundreds of fans in their cars through the town of Clinton. Although it was about 10:30 PM, the residents of Clinton came out of their houses to wave, cheer, and blow kisses our way. For those who were already in their pajamas, they flashed their porchlights on and off for us as we rolled slowly by waving our arms out the windows...
When we got back to the high school, hundreds of people poured into the gymnasium for one last hurrah as the Lady Cougars thanked everyone for their incredible support. The television play by play announcers said that Clinton had the most fans of any of the twenty schools that made it to state even though the town has just around 2000 people.
After starting the season out with a 3-4 record these young ladies finished the year out winning 19 straight...
It was a wonderful lifetime experience that the young ladies and the coaches will never forget...
To top off their wonderful experience I would like to ask a favor of all of you. Would you consider sending a card or letter of congratulations to the Lady Cougar basketball team? Since HeartTouchers reaches every continent, it would be cool for them to get mail from not only the US but all over the world about their accomplishment!
If you would like to congratulate these incredible young ladies you can write to them at:
The Lady Cougars Basketball Team
Thank you from the bottom of my heart....
From my family to yours,
Clinton Girls Win It All
''Since we were playing middle school basketball, we've always talked about going to state when we were in high school,'' said Clinton High School junior Kayla Schultz.
''I've been coming to Madison to see teams celebrate championships since I was a kid,'' teammate Brittany Korth said at the Kohl Center. ''I always wanted to be right here.
''There had never been a gold ball brought back to Clinton.''
Until Saturday night, that is.
With Kelsey Duoss scoring 21 points and Kim Boudreau pouring in 17 of her 19 in the second half, the Cougars (22-4) thumped Thorp, 57-44, in the WIAA Division 3 championship game to earn their first state title trophy in basketball.
When a convoy of cars, vans and buses arrived back at the high school for an assembly, they were greeted in the gymnasium by Dr. Stephen Cass, the school's principal.
''Welcome to the home of the WIAA Division 3 state champions,'' Cass said to thunderous applause from about a thousand fans.
Each player was introduced and captains Korth, Duoss and Stacey Blue took time to thank their coaches, parents and even sing a chorus of ''Happy Birthday'' to one of their young fans.
''To look up into the stands before the game and see that crowd from Clinton, I know how I felt and I'm sure I know how the girls felt,'' head coach Richard ''Whitey'' Gilbertson said. ''That was just awesome.''
Clinton turned out the most fans at the Kohl Center of any school involved in the tournament. They certainly were some of the loudest. But then they had plenty to cheer about as Clinton rallied from a 27-21 halftime deficit to tie the game at 35-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
From there, Boudreau converted 9-of-10 free throws and the Cougars outscored the Cardinals, 22-9, to win going away.
''From the start of the tournament, every game we had was a close game and somehow they came through,'' Gilbertson said. ''At halftime I knew they wanted to win so bad and somehow they'd make it happen.''
The victory was Clinton's 19th straight. After going 2-3 over their first five games, the Cougars went 20-1.
''These kids, I can't explain how hard they've worked,'' Gilbertson said. ''We've had a lot of fun and the tournament run has been great. It's been a little after Christmas since we lost. I think we got better every game we played after that.''
Clinton is Title Town!
''Thorp kind of thought we were a two-person team,'' the Clinton assistant said. ''They were wrong.''
Boy, were they ever.
Sure, Kelsey Duoss and Brittany Korth played their usual starring roles, but collectively the 22-4 Cougars were champions, downing Thorp, 57-44, in the WIAA Division 3 state championship game.
Duoss tallied a game-high 21 points and Korth, while held to seven points, yanked down a team-high nine rebounds and played superb defense. They also had plenty of support in helping head coach Richard ''Whitey'' Gilbertson walk off with the gold ball for the first time in his 28 years of coaching the Cougars.
Junior Kim Boudreau, a 5-foot-5 guard, hit 9-of-10 free throws and scored 13 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter. She also had eight rebounds.
Kayla Schultz found her shooting touch and scored eight second-half points and Gilbertson unleashed defensive specialist Stacey Blue on Katie Slowiak after a hot-shooting start and she held her to three second-half points.
''Kayla hit some big shots,'' Gilbertson said. ''It's amazing how kids step forth. You see it in practice and you hope it happens in games.''
Gilbertson also coached the Cougars in the first state tournament in 1976, when the Cougars fell to Lancaster, 49-41, in the Class B championship game.
''I've been coaching 35 years and this is what you dream about,'' the coach said. ''This is the reward, and it's the ultimate.''
Making it a little more special was the fact the trophy presenter, Debra Hauser, was a former Cougar herself. Running her first state tournament for the WIAA, she played her last season with the Cougars in 1975, the year before Gilbertson began coaching there.
''She said it was a tremendous thrill for her,'' Gilbertson said.
No less so for the Cougars, who mounted another terrific comeback. Thorp's Cardinals (23-4) got 15 points from Lindsey Geissler and 14 from Slowiak to lead 27-21 at halftime.
''It didn't start out so well because they were so hot and the ball wasn't going in for us,'' Gilbertson said. ''We made a couple of adjustments at halftime. The thing that concerned me was they had 11 points on second shots. We can't allow that. I think in the second half we rebounded better.''
Geissler made it 29-21 with two free throws to open the second half. But the Cougars had trailed Wausau Newman in the quarterfinals before winning 43-37 so they knew something about rallies.
''That gave us confidence knowing we could come back,'' Boudreau said.
Clinton scored the next 14 points, six by Duoss and took a 35-29 lead with 1:42 left in the third quarter. Thorp regrouped and tied it at 35-35 when Geissler banked in a 25-footer at the third-quarter buzzer.
Thorp went back on top 37-35 on Heidi Arciszewski's jumper to start the fourth quarter. Boudreau, however, answered with two free throws with 7:38 left and the Cougars were off to the races. Boudreau scored nine points in a 15-2 run that wrapped up the title.
''Kim is an amazing free-throw shooter,'' Korth said. ''They fouled the wrong person.''
But the 9-of-10 performance at the line even surprised Boudreau.
''We knew we had to step up,'' she said. ''I really wanted it bad. I have been looking forward to this for a long time. I'm still in shock right now. It doesn't feel like it's happening''
Cardinals coach Jeff Geissler's team had no answer for Boudreau.
''She had a whale of a game,'' he said.
So did Duoss. She didn't experience the foul trouble that plagued her against Newman so she took advantage, hitting 7-of-12 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws. She also had eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
''I didn't have any fouls in the first half so that wasn't a problem,'' Duoss said. ''I was just frustrated that my shots weren't falling. Coach told me to just keep shooting and they'd start falling. And they did.''
Duoss wasn't the only Cougar finding the range. After shooting just 26 percent in the first half (5-of-19), Clinton hit 63.2 in the second (12-of-19) to finish at 44.7. Thorp (23-4) went the other direction, hitting 42.3 percent in the first half (11-of-26) and just 19.2 (5-of-26) in the second. They were just 5-of-26 from 3-point range.
Clinton also outscored Thorp 23-8 from the foul line.
''Give credit where credit is due,'' Geissler said. ''Clinton is a good ballclub. They play good defense and didn't give us the looks we wanted.''
NOTES: Korth, Duoss and Boudreau landed on the all-tournament team. ...Each team had just eight turnovers. ...Clinton outscored Thorp 22-16 on points in the paint, 8-7 on points off turnovers, 8-7 on second-chance points and 8-2 on fastbreak points.
A little bit about Jim Franz
With the Daily News 22 years, Franz is responsible for daily assignments and content in the sports section. He reports on every aspect of high school, college and recreational sports. Previously, Franz was employed at the Waukesha Freeman. He is the recipient of several Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards for column-writing and special sections, including the annual "Legends'' book.
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"With God all things are possible."--Matthew 19:26
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"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to
"I bet if dogs could talk and you asked one why they drink out of the toilet, they'd probably ask you why you go to the bathroom in their water bowl."
MICHAEL T. POWERS
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no
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