Sydney Lurvey gets fouled on a shot attempt just prior to hitting a pair of free throws during Three Lakes’ win Thursday.
Sydney Lurvey gets fouled on a shot attempt just prior to hitting a pair of free throws during Three Lakes’ win Thursday.
On the strength of a convincing 73-30 win Saturday over the Athens Bluejays, the Three Lakes girls basketball team is headed back to the Division 5 WIAA State Girls Basketball Championship for the first time since 1999, and for only the second time ever in school history.

“I am just so proud of what this group of girls has accomplished through everything they’ve had to deal with this season, and really over the last year,” head coach George Lurvey said. “We know what we’re up against, but we’re going down there with the mentality we want to win.”

Waiting in La Crosse will be the defending State champions in the Black Hawk Warriors (21-0).

Black Hawk hales from the small town of South Wayne in southern Wisconsin, just southwest of the city of Monroe.

Going back over five years, they’ve lost just two high school girls varsity basketball games, the first which came in the Regional final in 2017 and the other in the State championship game in 2018.

Since then, the winning streak now sits at 75 games and counting for the southern Wisconsin basketball powerhouse who won the title in 2019.

The team was well on their way to back-to-back titles last season when COVID-19 cancelled the remaining postseason, thought it wasn’t enough to break what has become one of the longest high school basketball winning streaks not just in Wisconsin, but in the nation.

“We’ve built a tradition of winning that’s just become infectious with this group of girls, going down through the program,” Warriors head coach Mike Flanagan said late Sunday night. “We know it’s cliche, but it’s alway just been one game at a time for us, and the next is no different.

We know that Three Lakes will present some challenges, and we just have to find a way to overcome those.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic allowing top-seeded teams to play at home through the extent of the postseason, Thursday will serve as the first road game for Three Lakes since Feb. 1 when the team fell to Crandon, 37-53.

Since that loss, Three Lakes has rolled through the playoffs winning by an average of 37 points at home, knocking off Florence (76-33), Niagara (68-38), Gresham (76-45) and Athens (73-30) along the way.

All Division 5 State games will be played Thursday with Three Lakes and Black Hawk beginning action early at 9:05 a.m. Following that game will be the second Division 5 semifinal between Wisconsin Rapids Assumption and McDonell Catholic from the Chippewa Falls/Eau Claire area. That game tips at 12:35 p.m. at the La Crosse Center.

Later that evening the two winners will then face-off in the Division 5 title game which is set to get underway at 7:05 p.m.

All games will be televised by regional ABC television stations, as well as online through the WIAA website streaming service.

For information, visit wiaawi.org.



Win over Gresham

The Three Lakes girls basketball team put themselves one win away from clinching their first State basketball championship appearance since 1999 following a 76-45 home win Thursday night over Gresham in the WIAA Division 5 Sectional semifinal.

Gresham would hit their first jump-shot of the night to go up 2-0, and from there fought to gain control as the Three Lakes offense led by a game-high 28 points from senior Sydney Lurvey, went off.

Three Lakes carried a 10-point lead for much of the first half, and after about a five-minute drought, caught fire from behind the three-point line with four minutes left in the half to push the lead to 45-21 at the break.

In a matter of 75 seconds Lurvey would drill back-to-back-to-back threes from the right wing, followed by one more from the top of the key by fellow senior Taylor Kolling.

Mollee Gruszynski, who along with Lurvey and Kara Sowinski (12) finished in double-digits with 11 points on the evening, capped the run with a layup from the right side to end the first half.

In the second half it was Lurvey and Sowinski handling the majority of the load as Sowinski’s ability to keep possession on the point, and find Lurvey for open jumpers kept the pressure off the Lady Jays.

Mari Szews ended the night with nine points to go along with seven for Kolling, five for Emily Fink and four for Sara Gruszynski. Three Lakes as a team dropped eight three-point shots on the night, five of which came from Lurvey.

Gresham was led by Valarie Cervany with 16. The forward didn’t play in the matchup earlier this season with Three Lakes. Chloe Bohl added eight to go with seven from Hannah Cervany. 



Sectional finals


In the game to go to State the Three Lakes offense left little doubt early as first Lurvey and then a trio of shots from Kolling from distance quickly put the home team up by double-digits.

Midway through the first half Three Lakes made it 24-8 after a steal from Sowinski turned into an easy layup, and then a basket plus a free throw from Mollee Gruszynski pushed the lead to 34-10.

Athens called a timeout to try and stop the bleeding, but it was just too much from the Three Lakes offense which combined on the night hit 11 shots from three-point range, four each from Lurvey and Kolling to go with three more from Sowinski who led all scorers with 21 points.

Lurvey hit the 20-point plateau again while Kolling added 16. Sara Gruszynski chipped in with eight to go with three apiece from Mollee Gruszynski and Emily Fink. Szews add a pair to round out the scoring.

“I can’t tell you what this means, I don’t even think it’s set-in quite yet,” coach Lurvey said. “I just know that having coached these girls since they were in probably fourth grade, we never thought in our wildest dreams we’d be in this position. So to be heading to the State tournament is just a dream come true.”