Xavier’s defense dominates as Hawks advance to state title game

Xavier knew they’d need their defense to play well to advance to the state title game. They didn’t realize it would be this good though.

“At halftime coach reminded us that we only gave up the two points and that got us really jacked for the next quarter,” Kayla Gresl said.

The Hawks trailed Hayward by a point following one quarter, but then they really focused in. Xavier swarmed, harassed and dominated the second period of play. Unbeknownst to most of the players on the court, A.C. Clouthier’s team would only give up two points on a pair of free throws.

“To be 100-percent honest, I think we were focusing on our game and how were going to play,” Peyton Ufi asserted.

“We played tremendous defense,” complimented the head coach. The Hawks allowed the Hurricanes to shoot just 22% (8-of-36 from the field) for the game to go along with forcing 18 turnovers. “To hold a team to two points in the second quarter, especially as good as they are. That’s tremendous.”

Xavier would open a 19-10 lead going into halftime. Following the break, they’d give their student section – a force that could be heard outside the expansive Resch Center – even more than just a day off to cheer about.

The Hawks would cruise after the intermission to secure a spot in the Division 3 finals with the 44-34 victory.

“These girls are feeding off that and enjoying every bit of it,” Clouthier said. “It’s a great community environment, I’m getting texts from people I don’t even know. I’m getting emails from people I don’t know who they are. It’s a really humbling experience.”

And if Xavier (or their opponent in finals, Whitewater) thought it was loud Friday, they better just wait until the title game.

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