Goal one has been achieved for the Nicolet girls basketball team.
And the happiest moment of the Knights' 80-42 win over Germantown Thursday night, a victory which clinched at least a share of their third straight North Shore Conference title, came when reserve junior guard Tiffany Pigg hit a three-pointer with 57 seconds left to close out Nicolet's scoring for the night.
It was her first points of the season and caused the Knight bench to erupt in joy.
"There was a lot of excitement tonight, but that was the best part," said senior center Alex Cohen, who tied with senior guard Ashley Green to lead all scorers with 23 points apiece, including four three-pointers.
With the win, the Knights improved to 12-0 in North Shore play and 18-2 overall. The conference mark is two short of Nicolet goal number two on the season, going undefeated in league play for the second consecutive year.
Goals three and four, a state tournament berth and a state title, are still far away, but are on the radar, said Cohen.
"We're all excited about where we are at this point," said Cohen, "because we are getting better and we're trying to do the best that we can to improve everyday."
"Our practices the last few days have been just great."
Coach Corey Wolf shares Cohen's assessment.
"We're just sharing the ball very well right now," she said. "Always looking for the better shot, the best shot, and we always like to get out and move. That gives us a lot of energy."
Such as what the Knights did in their Thursday night tilt against Germantown. They got a three-pointer from senior forward Gaby Bronson to begin the game and then never looked back, forcing numerous turnovers and getting several easy baskets en route to a 16-0 start.
Junior guard Brittney Fair had seven of her 15 points in that burst, which Wolf called an example of her team at its best.
"We always seem to get teams to play a little faster than they want to," she said. "We can put teams down big pretty quick that way. We've always been a team of spurts."
Germantown (4-7, 5-14) fought back, as baskets by Mary Nennig and Kate Benson chopped the margin to 22-15 with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, but then the Knights scored three points in the final 13 seconds to bump the margin back up to 25-15.
The margin would never be below 13 points again.
"They're definitrely a pick your poison kind of team," said Warhawk coach Matt Stuve. "After that initial burst, we seemed to recapture some of our aggressiveness on offense. A major point of emphasis for us was limiting their easy stuff, their stuff of transition, but we weren't able to do that as well as we would have liked."
Germantown got eight points apiece from Lexi Keefe and Joann Martin.
Meanwhile, Wolf was impressed with the performance of both Green and Cohen.
"With Alex's shooting it's all about her footwork and body control," said Wolf. "When she plays like that, it's hard to guard her. How do you play someone who's 6-5 and can shoot from the outside like that? And she was rebounding very well tonight too."
"And with Ashley, she just anticipates so well. She has the best hands I've ever seen on a girls' basketball player."
As for the bigger picture and the more long-term goals, Wolf seems confident that they're a definite possibility.
"We're getting better all the time," she said.
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