- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Kettle Moraine Lutheran used six free throws over the last 40 seconds of the game to beat Neillsville 28-23 and capture the Division 3 state championship Saturday at the Resch Center.

The championship is Kettle Moraine’s first as a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association partner school. Neillsville was going for its third straight state title after winning the Division 4 championship in 2012 and taking home the Division 3 title last season.

Kettle Moraine Lutheran’s Andrea Meinert finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds Saturday. Teammate Mikayla Voigt added seven points. But it was an ugly game all around. Kettle Moraine Lutheran (27-1) went 7-for-33 from the field and Neillsville (27-1) was a measly 7-for-46.

“It was a defensive battle, which is pretty obvious,” Kettle Moraine Lutheran coach Jason Walz said. “The pace was slow and there were few possessions and that made every possession valuable. There’s part of this that’s fitting for a championship game. It should be a struggle and it should be a (competitive) game. It was not a thing of beauty.”

The two squads went a combined 0-for-18 from the field before Neillsville’s Katelyn Crothers hit a runner to make it 3-3 seconds before the end of the first quarter. Neillsville went up 11-3 as Taylor Gleisner and Jenny Lindner drained back-to-back three-pointers. Kettle Moraine Lutheran finally hit its first field goal 13 minutes into the game to make it 11-5.

But the Chargers went on a 13-0 run that carried them to a 16-11 lead in the third quarter. Clinging to a 22-21 lead with 37.4 seconds left in the game, Kettle Moraine Lutheran’s Voigt went to the free throw line and drained both attempts. A steal and two free throws by Meinert and two more from Sharla Boehlke clinched it.

Jenny Lindner, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit who guided Neillsville to last year’s title, finished with a team-high 13 points Saturday but struggled to put the ball in the basket, going just 3-21 from the field.

“Unfortunately, I thought at halftime they might put peach baskets back up at the Resch Center because the way the scoring went,” Neillsville coach John Gaier said. “We just didn’t score the ball. I thought we were overanxious and we didn’t execute offensively the way we needed to offensively and we didn’t get the shots we really wanted to get.”



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