The Barneveld Golden Eagles only had one loss on the season.
They picked a great time to avenge it.
Avenging a 52-51 loss to Assumption earlier in the season, the Golden Eagles earned their 2nd straight WIAA State Championship with a 59-43 victory over the Royals in the Division 5 title game.
It was the third year in a row that these two schools have done battle for the gold ball, with the squads splitting the first two meetings. Assumption posted a 39-35 victory in 2013 and the Golden Eagles came out on top last year 38-34.
“When you win one, it’s great, but when come back and win it back to back with the pressure that was on these girls and for them to come through against a very good Assumption team, and battle them, I am probably as proud of this group as I have ever been,” said Barneveld head coach Jim Myers. “These guys worked their tails off out there tonight and I just can’t say enough good things about them.”
This year Barneveld was not to be denied, bringing the defensive intensity from the very beginning, holding the Royals to just 15 points in the first half. The second period especially was a problem for Assumption, shooting just 26% from the field in the stanza. The Royals were 39% from the field for the game.
“Well, this was the grudge match, or rubber match, or whatever storyline there was, but what it really came down to today was Barneveld just beat us,” said Assumption head coach Joe Birkhauser. “Defensive we had a nice game plan, even though the scored 59. We have to score more than 15 points in the first half.”
For Barneveld, even when the shots weren’t falling, they were able to maintain their lead. The Golden Eagles shot 59% from the field for the game, including 46% in the first half, but were extremely efficient when it was needed the most. Barneveld was 70% from the field in the second half, never relinquishing the lead.
“We had a couple of keys we wanted to do on defense to make it really tough on Gena (Assumption’s Grundhoffer),’’ said Myers. “I thought we did a good job of that, holding her to just four points. We wanted to make them beat us from outside, because a lot of their points come from the paint. As far as offensively, Maggie (Oimoen) really stepped up, especially on the long passes; she sealed really well and was able to finish.”
Junior Hannah Whitish paced the Golden Eagles with 23 points, but it was senior Maggie Oimoen who led the way towards the gold ball. The 6’2 center poured in 17 points on 8 of 8 shooting from the field, the majority of her points (13 points) coming on press break lay ups in the second half.
Assumption was led by Macie Zurfluh and Olivia Skibba, who both finished with 12 points.
Barneveld finishes the season with a record 26-1, while Assumption finishes 24-4.