By Brian Kalish
March 5, 2020
MOSINEE– Newman senior Jadelyn Ganski isn’t much of a talker. When asked if she would speak to the media after Newman’s 49-35 victory over Edgar on Thursday evening, Ganski bashfully shook her head and sought refuge among Cardinals fans who had gathered around her to celebrate the victory.
While Ganski may not have a career in public relations in her future, her performance on the court against Edgar spoke volumes.
Ganski led all scorers with 25 points and was a force on defense to lift Newman to its third victory over Edgar this season and propel the Cardinals to the sectional final where they will square off against Oneida Nation with a trip to state on the line.
Oneida Nation defeated Niagara 58-54 to advance to the sectional final, which will be played on Saturday in Bowler.
If Oneida Nation has any hope of bouncing Newman from the WIAA Division 5 playoffs, they’re going to have to come up with a plan to contain with Ganski.
And that’s going to be a tall order.
“I said, can I get 30 shots from you?” said Newman coach Paul Haag in reference to a conversation he had with Ganski prior to Thursday’s contest. “She shoots like 50% from the field, if not better. She’s a very unselfish player. She sees the game really well. She’s probably one of the best passers on the team.”
Ganski scored 10 points in the first half and followed that up with 15 points in the second half. She was firing on all cylinders from the tip off to the final buzzer.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled mightily to put the ball in the basket. Edgar tallied just 12 points in the first half and were in a 41-18 hole at the 8:28 mark in the second half.
Edgar had its share of good looks, they just couldn’t get the lid off the hoop.
“We had a lot of nice looks at the basket early on,” said Edgar coach Betty Urmanski. “They didn’t fall. But you encourage the girls to keep shooting. Defensively, they took Makenna Guden out of the game. Other girls I thought stepped up and were attacking the basket. We just struggled to hit shots.”
Ganski played a central role in suppressing the Wildcats’ offense, blocking shots, diving on the floor for loose balls and, to put it bluntly, wreaking havoc on defense.
“She plays defense,” said Haag. “She used to kind of coast through it and still defend and get her five or six blocks a game. But now she’s getting down and getting low and playing hard.”
If Ganski is the thunder for Newman defensively and offensively, her partner in crime, fellow senior Julia Seidel is the lightning.
Seidel ignited Newman’s offense, scoring 12 of her 16 points in the first half. Her aggressive play set the tone for the Cardinals.
“We just really worked on getting the best possible shot for our teammates and each other this week in practice,” said Seidel. “We worked on making the extra pass and getting the open looks and we were knocking them down tonight. Everyone played really great on offense sharing the ball.”
The Cardinals seem to be leaning into their identity and making adjustments as they advance through the playoffs.
Haag and his squad have backed off of their signature full court press for the past couple of games, relying instead on locking teams down in a half court set.
“Our press that we set up works really, really well,” said Haag. “However, the last few times we’ve played some of these teams, they’ve broken it down pretty well. (Abandoning the press) helps us stay fresh. I actually found that we’re getting more turnovers playing half court because they play such good half court defense.”
“Edgar went on an 8-0 run to start the game the last time we played them, and a lot of that was them breaking our press,” said Seidel. “I think a lot of the teams in our conference– and especially Edgar who we’ve played three times now– they’ve scouted for that, so we decided to change it up a little bit and go with what works for us.”
With just one game standing between them and a trip to Green Bay, the Cardinals are taking time to savor the journey.
“This one is by far the most special for us because we’re seniors, the starting five are all seniors,” said Seidel. “We’ve been here twice, but this one is the most important because every time we win, we get to play another game with our teammates. We want to keep playing as much as we can.”
“The accomplishments they’ve had in the past are theirs, and now everything’s a bonus,” Haag said. “They’re so close and they don’t want it to end. They’re going to fight and scrap all the way through this.”
Newman 24 25 49
Edgar 12 23 35
NEWMAN: Seidel 16, Ganski 25, Shields 4, Heinz 4
EDGAR: T. Hackel 2, Keim 5, Hoesly 4, Ellenbecker 4, Guden 12, Rausch 2, Borchardt 4, Mohr 2