Prescott’s Izzy Matzek competes in WIAA three-point challenge in Green Bay

Posted 3/15/22

For the second time in three years, Prescott had a player chosen to compete in the WIAA girls three-point challenge on Saturday, March 12, the day the state basketball tournament championship games …

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Prescott’s Izzy Matzek competes in WIAA three-point challenge in Green Bay


For the second time in three years, Prescott had a player chosen to compete in the WIAA girls three-point challenge on Saturday, March 12, the day the state basketball tournament championship games were set to begin.

Prescott junior guard Izzy Matzek met the elite list of quantifications required to get the invite to Green Bay for the annual three-point challenge, where she finished in a tie for fifth place out of 10 total shooters. To compete, the athlete must have a toptwo three-point percentage throughout the season in the player’s respective division and must have taken at least 75 three-point shots throughout the year.

Matzek was one of the two players selected to represent the Division 3 bracket. This season, she shot 61-134 from behind the three-point line which made her a 45% shooter from deep. For Division 3, that gave her the fourth-highest percentage in the state.

However, the WIAA selects the two best shooters, statistically speaking, on teams that hadn’t qualified for the state tournament as part of a team. Two of the three shooters ahead of her in percentage played for Freedom and Waupun, teams that qualified for the state tournament as sectional champions. Therefore, Matzek met the qualifications to compete. Prescott head coach Joan Korfhage spoke about Matzek’s experience in Green Bay for the competition.

“I thought it was awesome and I know Izzy (Matzek) said that she loved it,” Korfhage said. “It was competitive, but the organizers did a good job of calming the nerves of the girls. It was a fun atmosphere.”

While Matzek was the only Prescott athlete competing, most of the team made the trip to Green Bay to support her. According to Korfhage, over half of the varsity roster and several junior varsity players were at the event to show support for their three-point specialist.

“I think she was happy and a little surprised to see that many of her teammates were there to support her,” Korfhage said. “They helped too because they were the ones feeding her the ball throughout the season to get those shots up.”

When Matzek stepped on the floor, she had hundreds of people in the crowd watching and cheering her on as she took her 25 three-point attempts from carts located around the three-point line. In the first round, she finished with a score of 14, which placed her in a tie for fifth place. Only the top four scores advanced to the second round of shooting. To get into fourth, Matzek would have needed to have a score of 16.

“She just missed getting into the second round by one basket,” Korfhage said. “The winner this year in the final round set a record of 23. It was the highest score they’ve ever had (in a single round). She was on fire.”

That player was junior Emily Jaenke of Fox Valley Lutheran, who made 19 in the first round, 16 in the semi-final and 23 in the championship round. While Matzek only got one round of shooting in Green Bay, she had spent time working on pulling balls off of carts and then shooting, which is a process that most players aren’t comfortable with. Korfhage spoke about getting Matzek adjusted to that three-point format for the competition.

“As soon as she qualified, we started practicing with her about 45 minutes a day, we’d have her shoot five or six rounds a day,” Korfhage said. “Taking the ball off of the cart compared to having somebody pass it to you is a way different motion. We were doing those five timed rounds a day where she went through the whole sequence.”

Getting into a rhythm of shooting off of a cart can be a difficult adjustment for players who haven’t done it before. According to Korfhage, rarely do the players on her roster shoot off of a cart because it doesn’t apply to a real game situation. For Matzek, that experience was completely foreign when she started training.

Matzek’s three-point shooting got her to Green Bay for the annual competition, but more importantly, it helped her team win a Middle Border Conference Championship and reach the Division 3 Sectional Semi-Final game this season. Korfhage spoke about how the game changes when Matzek is on the floor.

“When she’s on the floor the other team knew they couldn’t leave her open,” Korfhage said. “She gets a lot of her looks in transition when we’re pushing it up the floor and looking for her. She can shoot a three from anywhere, but her favorite is probably the corners.”

For every basketball team at any level, there are certain players that coaches give the “green light” to shooting. Meaning, they can take any jumper whenever they want, or feel is necessary. Although this was Korfhage’s first season as head coach, she knew right away that Matzek is a green light player.

“Probably in that first game we talked about transition and to what extent we were going to allow her to fire those (three-pointers) off,” Korfhage recalled of those early conversations with her coaching staff and Matzek. “We told her that even if we don’t have other girls up the floor if you get an open shot you take. She had the green light to shoot.”

Her three-point shooting isn’t an accident. Korfhage said that Matzek is dedicated and is one of the hardest workers on her team. She is continually working to improve her craft and that’s why she sees such significant success on the floor.

“If I had to describe her in one word, it would be dedicated,” Korfhage said. “She’s so dedicated to the sport and as far as my players go, she probably studies the game more than anybody else on the team.”

Matzek is a student of the game in every aspect of the phrase. She’s one of the best three-point shooters in the state, is a leader in the locker room, and is only a junior. She returns next year for her senior season with Prescott in which they hope to repeat as Middle Border Conference Champions.

Prescott junior Izzy Matzek stands with the nine other WIAA 2021-22 Three-Point Challenge competitors at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Saturday, March 12, after competing in the annual three-point challenge. Matzek finished in a tie for fifth with a score of 14. Photo courtesy of Wissports