CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. - The shooting wasn't there, so Brittany Baldwin did what any good player does when the jumper isn't falling.
The 5-foot-7 senior guard got to the free-throw line. Baldwin went 7-for-10 from the stripe, scored 15 points, dished out seven assists and had seven rebounds in leading the Central High School girls basketball team to a game from the state tournament.
The Red Raiders used a 16-3 mid-game run to get by sub-.500 Rice Lake 42-34 Thursday in the WIAA Division 2 section semifinals.
At 1 p.m. Saturday in Marshfield, Wis., Central (20-5) will play New London (20-4) for a bid to the tourney, which takes place March 20-22 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. The Bulldogs got to the semis beating Merrill (16-7) in another low-scoring affair, 29-24.
New London went 26-1 last season and lost in the first round of the state tournament. The Bulldogs weren't there in 2012, but won it all in 2011.
If the Red Raiders win, it will be their first trip to state since 1995.
Neither the Warriors (11-14) nor the Red Raiders shot well at Chippewa Falls High School. Rice Lake was 11-for-37 from the field (29.7 percent), while Central was just a tad better at 14 of 44 (31.8).
Central, however, didn't settle for 3-pointers, going 3-for-6, while Rice Lake was an abysmal 5 of 20.
If that wasn't the difference, it was turnovers and second-half free throws. The Red Raiders won the turnover battle 12-22 and went 10-for-16 from the line in the second half, while keeping Rice Lake off it (1-for-2).
Katlyn Roesch scored seven points, going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and Brooke Baldwin had five rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals to make up for her 1-of-8 shooting for the Red Raiders. Brittany Baldwin also added a pair of blocks and a steal.
ONALASKA LUTHER 60, MARKESAN 55
MAUSTON, Wis. - It was all about the second half for Luther in getting within a game of the state tournament.
Senior Christina Houlihan had 14 of her 18 points in the second half. Luther (16-9), which was down as many as eight in the first, went on a 22-5 run to gain control in the second half.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, the Knights will play fourth-ranked Cuba City (24-1) for a chance at the state tourney. The lone loss for Cuba City, which beat Mineral Point 64-54 on Thursday, came to undefeated Brodhead (25-0) at a holiday tournament Dec. 28, 60-54.