Nicolet — In professional sports, stars take that next step to superstardom in the postseason.
If that same principle applies to high school basketball, then a superstar was made when Oak Creek defeated sectional top seed Nicolet, 42-36, in a WIAA Division 1 semifinal game at Whitefish Bay High School on Friday.
Oak Creek senior and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit Angela Rodriguez was held scoreless in the first half as Oak Creek trailed Nicolet, 18-17, but the standout guard responded in the third quarter and scored seven of Oak Creek's 11 points to jump out to a 28-21 lead heading into the final frame.
"She (Rodriguez) goes in streaks and her head was down a little bit at half," Oak Creek head coach Steve Hluchnik said. "I said, 'Just keep shooting because one of you will get hot,' and hey, one got hot from the free-throw line (Cydney Weisflog) and the other got hot like she did at the Muskego game (Rodriguez) and put us on her back.
"That's what great players do."
Nicolet cut the lead to two points with just 28.4 seconds remaining, but Oak Creek shot 100 percent (17 for 17) from the free-throw line for the game, and Weisflog made six attempts in the final minute to seal the upset.
"We were really hyped up and ready to go," Rodriguez said. "We knew we needed to make every shot and finish every shot strong."
Oak Creek limited Nicolet to just 29 percent shooting (13 for 44) and a season-low 36 points. Nicolet shot 31 percent (4 for 13) from the free-throw line.
"I think offensively we struggled because we just never got into a rhythm," Nicolet coach Corey Wolf said. "We made some very poor decisions, and we didn't move the ball; things that are very uncharacteristic of us."
The game may have been different if Nicolet's second-leading scorer Brittney Fair had not been injured early in the first quarter, but Nicolet's coach thinks otherwise.
"Anytime you lose a player it's obviously going to affect your team," Wolf said. "But we don't make excuses; injuries did not lose this game. We had kids in there that were playing all year for us.
"Oak Creek just outplayed us tonight."
Weisflog scored a team-high 12 points; Rodriguez finished with 11.
Nicolet's Alex Cohen and Ashley Green led all scorers with 14 points each.
Oak Creek eventually lost to Pius XI in the sectional final Saturday night. The Lady Popes will take part in this week's WIAA State Tournament.
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