Evans leads Phantoms to regional title
DE PERE (WLUK) -- Brehna Evans knew she had to do something with the season on the line, so she did.
With West De Pere trailing by one point in the final minute of a Division 2 regional final against Ashwaubenon, Evans did what she does best -- score.
With a pick set for her to go right at the top of the key, Evans set up her defender, drove left and scored on a drive to give West De Pere the lead for good at 52-51.
Evans scored 25 points as the No. 2-seeded Phantoms defeated No. 6 Ashwaubenon, 54-51, in a thrilling contest.
"I knew I was going to deny the screen; we run that play countless times," said Evans, who entered the game averaging 22.8 points per game. "It's just second nature and I knew it was something I had to make."
"She's just a natural scorer," West De Pere coach Chris Abaray said. "In my opinion, you have a player like that, you have to let her create."
Midway through the second half it didn't appear Evans would need to play the hero role. After beating Ashwaubenon (14-11), 65-56, in overtime during the regular season, the Phantoms looked headed for a comfortable win as it led by double digits, but the Jaguars rallied and put West De Pere's season on the line.
"We know basketball's a game of runs," Evans said. "Having a little bit of a lead, we were not comfortable. They're a good team. We knew it was a game of runs and we were going to have our chance."
Abaray said there have been talks about his team regarding late-game moments just like Saturday and the key is to not get excited.
"We focused all year about keeping calm and keeping cool," he said. "We talk about it all the time."
After the game West De Pere celebrated on the court in front a packed fieldhouse.
"It's always a great environment," Evans said. "It's just awesome and even better when you come out with a win."
West De Pere (19-5) advances to play Bay Conference rival Seymour in a sectional semifinal Thursday. It's a rematch of last year's sectional semifinal won by Seymour.
Evans is looking forward to the teams' third meeting, even though Seymour swept the regular season series.
"A lot of people didn't think we were going to do much this year," Evans said. "I believed in my teammates and myself. It's a real good feeling to accomplish this."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay