By PATRICK SLACK
The Upsala girls basketball team took a nine-point lead early in Friday’s Section 5A final against Isle at Crosby-Ironton High School.
But in the end, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Huskies closed the first half on fire and kept the momentum in the second half, earning a 78-61 win and a trip to the state tournament.
Isle took a 37-23 into the break and added a quick two to open the second half.
Upsala responded with back-to-back baskets by senior Kimmy Mrozek and junior Aimee Pelzer to close within 12, but the Huskies went on a 10-0 run on their way to building a 25-point advantage.
The Cardinals had one run left in them, closing within 10 points with four minutes to go after a layup by Pelzer at 65-55.
But Upsala was forced to foul in the final minutes and Isle cinched the game at the free-throw line.
Mrozek scored 21 points and grabbed four rebounds to lead the Cardinals.
Pelzer scored 16 points and Herzog picked up 11 points, with each pulling down six rebounds.
Senior Donna Ripplinger added seven points and senior Kaitlyn Wuebkers contributed six.
Upsala set a school record for victories this season, finishing with a record of 28-2.
Seniors on this year’s team included Mrozek, Ripplinger, Wuebkers, Dawn Evoniuk, Melissa George and Brianna Westrich.
Isle 78, Upsala 61
Isle 37 41 – 78
Upsala 23 38 – 61
Upsala—Kimmy Mrozek, 21 (4 rebounds); Aimee Pelzer, 16 (7 steals, 6 rebounds); Tracy Herzog, 11 (6 rebounds); Donna Ripplinger, 7; Kaitlyn Wuebkers, 6.