Kerstin Sauerbrei drives to the basket against North Fond du Lac. Sauerbrei finished with 14 points.
Kerstin Sauerbrei drives to the basket against North Fond du Lac. Sauerbrei finished with 14 points.

   The Ripon High School girls’ basketball team’s season came to a heart-breaking end Tuesday night.

   It squandered a 10-point halftime lead and fell to the North Fond du Lac Orioles 59-57 on the road in a regional quarterfinal.

   With the loss, the Tigers finish the season 5-18 overall.

   “It is a tough loss, especially as well as everybody played,” Ripon head coach Jesse Nodolf said. “We probably played the best team basketball in the first half of any game last night, so that makes it even harder — when everybody’s chipping in, everybody’s working, everybody’s got each other’s back. And it’s the end of the season and for us, seniors are not playing basketball anymore.”

   The Tigers, who were a No. 9 seed, started off the game a bit slowly as they fell behind No. 8-seeded North Fond du Lac 5-0 in the opening minutes and trailed 19-12 with around eight minutes remaining in the first half.

   But they responded with a 13-0 run and a 26-6 stretch to enter halftime with a 35-25 advantage.

  “We passed the ball well, we communicated on defense well, we finished well and I think we shot fairly well,” Jesse Nodolf said about the first half. “All the little things were being done and those little things all add up to big things.”

   Ripon’s defense continued to play well for the first 12 minutes of the second half, but the offense wasn’t able to tack onto the lead as it remained around 10 points.

Read the full story, which includes information on losses to Berlin and Kettle Moraine Lutheran, in the Feb. 21, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.