Annie Benavides is consoled by coach Dena Brechtl after being taken out in the final minute of a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal meeting with Waukesha West at Elkhorn High School (Michael Stefanich Jr./Southern Lakes Newspapers).

Girls drop sectional semifinal

By Chris Bennett

There is more to be learned about the character of a program in defeat than in victory.

Coach Dena Brechtl praised fans and the community in the wake of the Waterford Union High School girls basketball team’s 68-46 loss to Waukesha West March 5 in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal at Elkhorn.

“Elkhorn was full of green,” Brechtl said. “It was so neat to see the amount of support from the parents, high school kids, youth players and community members.

“I wish I would have taken a second to look around a little more but, in the amount of time I did, it was stunning. Waterford sure is a great place to live.”

The Wolverines (16-9) advanced to play West (13-13) after beating Jefferson 47-46 Feb. 29 in a regional final at Waterford. The Wolverines won their third straight regional title this season.

Waterford trailed 32-25 at halftime. West outscored the Wolverines 36-21 in the second half.

“In the first half, we struggled to run our stuff, but still managed to make a few shots and stay in the game,” Brechtl said. “We talked at halftime about just believing in us and staying true to the plan of attack.”

Brechtl said the Wolverines struggled to execute their offense in the second half and also found it difficult to defend West’s transition game.

“We ran out of gas, as I think we just focused so much on trying to get back in the game,” Brechtl said. “It almost felt like everything that could go wrong went wrong in a about a 10 minute stretch.

“However, as always, our girls kept fighting and wouldn’t go away.”

Torie Loppnow led the Wolverines with 16 points. Katie Rohner scored 12 points.

Loppnow, who tallied 13 points in the first half, found West’s well-balanced offense difficult to contain.

“I think that their ability to shoot really helped them,” she said. “There was not one girl on the court who didn’t have a good solid outside shot. If they weren’t getting it from outside, they were getting inside, doing spin moves and finishing.”

Rohner, like Brechtl, said her squad continued to battle West.

“I know we put our hearts in and we all were fighting really,” said Rohner.

Caden Krohn led West with 16 points.

Brechtl praised the Wolverine’s seniors, many of whom were part of the program’s three regional titles.

“This group of seniors have not only paved an amazing path for the younger kids, but have served as awesome role models in our community over the past few years,” Brechtl said. “They will be missed by not only the coaching staff, but also the members of the program.”

Departing seniors include Rohner, Annie Benavides, Mackenzie Stiewe and Maddie Bartol.

For Loppnow, a junior, she credited the seniors for offering inspiration as she recovered from injury.

“The one thing that I can say is, that every single senior is the biggest role model I have ever met,” she said. “Every single one of them has shown me, through my injury, to always try my hardest and to give it all I can.”

Rohner, meanwhile, leaves as the program’s career leader in scoring with 1,569 points, according to

She broke Madison Blair’s record of 1,162 point set in 2015.

“On and off the court, we wanted the best for each other,” Rohner said about her senior teammates. “We loved each other.”

– Staff writer Jason Arndt contributed to this story.