Cochrane-Fountain City girls overcome 2 quarantines, nearing 1st State appearance

Girls basketball sectional semifinals begin this Thursday, and Cochrane-Fountain City is two wins away from their first-ever state appearance.

The Pirates have a 15-3 record but that doesn’t really illustrate how difficult the season has actually been.

First-year head coach Rick Peterson says the pandemic made everything an uphill battle almost from day one.

“To start the year we played Prescott Nov. 24, and then we didn’t get to play a game for 25 days with the quarantine,” Peterson said. “That was a lot on the kids. And when you’ve gone 25 days between games, when we came back and had our five practices, it was like the beginning of the year again. We were able to then play a game on a Friday, we had a practice on a Sunday, played Monday, and then were thrown back into quarantine for another 14 days.”

Peterson says it took a lot of mental strength for the girls to keep working out at home and then come together quickly when games were back on.

Experience has a lot to do with it. Last season the Pirates had no seniors and went 11-13.

This year all but one player is an upperclassmen, and the years they’ve all spent on varsity have led to cracking the code as a unit with Peterson’s coaching. After getting through quarantine, Peterson says every practice he sees more confidence and swagger, and the seniors feel Pirate basketball is built to be a contender for years to come.

“I definitely feel really good about the program,” senior Jordyn Halverson said. “I think it’s getting better and better as the years go on, and I can’t wait to see what we do the rest of this year and the next year for them.”

The Pirates host Auburndale Thursday night, and a win would advance them to face Bangor Saturday for a trip to state, which would be at the La Crosse Center. La Crosse is confirmed to host Girls Division 2, 4, and 5 next week.