Wife reached out to former players for special party

Union Grove coach Rob Domagalski was surprised after his 300th win by a plethora of former players, some dating back to his first season in 2000. (Submitted/SLN)

 

By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

What do you give a high school girls basketball coach for winning 300 career games?

Two conference road victories and a surprise celebration with a full complement of former players seemed like appropriate gifts for Union Grove coach Rob Domagalski.

The 19-year veteran coach, whose 300 wins is the most in program history, was all smiles after a remarkable week of watching his young team nab two Southern Lakes Conference road games.

Domagalski then got to share his 300-career-win achievement with some of his former players at a surprise celebration arranged by his wife.

“You start to reflect back on things, and it was really cool to see grown women that I coached 19 years ago come back,” Domagalski said. “You don’t get a chance to do that very often.”

“As for the achievement of 300 wins, it represents longevity,” he continued. “So many good things have to happen to be successful from awesome players to awesome coaches.”

The successes of previous seasons has undoubtedly set a high standard for the current cast of Lady Broncos, who appear to be turning things around after struggling through a portion of their schedule.

Union Grove fought off a fierce second-half comeback attempt from Delavan-Darien to outlast the Comets 53-46 Tuesday, Jan. 15. The Grove then dominated host Westosha Central 67-44 for Domagalski’s benchmark 300th victory Friday, Jan. 18.

“This is a great good of kids this year that make it fun,” Domagalski said. “They put the work in at practice and its starting to pay off in games.”

The young Broncos showed a new level of poise against the Comets. After leading by as many as 15 points, Delavan-Darien battled back to draw to within 3 in the second half.

Unlike in previous close losses earlier in the season, the Grove made clutch baskets to preserve the lead and eventually gain the victory.

“We did the things like converting big shots to win,” Domagalski said. “We did a lot right, but still weren’t able to put the ball in the hoop consistently enough and they hit shots to get close.”

The Comets shot 7-14 from three-point territory, while the Broncos were just 7-24, but sophomore Angela Slattery and the Broncos transition game proved to be the difference. Slattery racked up a game-high 14 points, dished out six assists, and grabbed four steals, while junior Megan Barber added 13 to propel their team past the Comets.

“We decided a few weeks ago that we can’t just play half-court basketball, and had to do something to get Slattery out in the court,” Domagalski said. “Its benefits her skills.”

The Broncos capitalized on their momentum three days later with a commanding triumph over the Falcons.

Senior Hailey Hoffman and Slattery each had a game-high 13 points, while junior Megan Baker chipped in 10 to lead the way for the Grove, who shook off an early 10-point deficit to cruise to victory.

“Westosha came out and played confidently early, but I was waiting for us to get it going after a long bus ride in the snow,” Domagalski said.

“With very few fans there because of the weather, we had to manufacture our own momentum.”

The Broncos look to continue their momentum this evening when they host Delavan-Darien. Union Grove then hosts Burlington on Tuesday.

With two winnable home conference games in queue, Domagalski’s squad could be riding a healthy four-game conference winning streak heading into back-to-back road games against Wilmot and Waterford the following week.

“We don’t try to look ahead on the schedule and just try to get better each practice,” Domagalski said. “It’s starting to come around and we’ll see if it can translate to the games.”

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