By Tera White
The Mound Westonka High School girls basketball team ended the week with a 10-14 record after splitting two games. The White Hawks grabbed their fourth conference win from the Rockford Rockets after a loss to New London-Spicer.
The Valentine’s Day game at home on Feb. 14 against New London was anything but sweet. Westonka played flat and allowed the Wildcats an early lead. The hot-shooting Wildcats made nearly 50 percent of field goals and three-pointers and nearly every free throw they put up. Unfortunately, there was ample opportunity for free throws, as foul calls went against the home team in both halves.
The White Hawks took almost the same number of shots from the field but, ultimately, did not knock down the points, losing 72-36. Scoring for Westonka: senior Claire White (11 points); junior Sam Eidsness (six points); and sophomores Jennifer Schaible (six points), Ela Springer (six points), Maya Thurston (five points) and Melissa Christlieb (two points). Thurston also had eight rebounds and four assists.
Away at Rockford on Feb. 17, the White Hawks took on the aggressive Rockets. Westonka was able to keep its composure and gain a 25-13 lead by halftime, despite turnovers and a streak of missed shots. This was an extremely physical contest that led to a battle of fouls.
With four minutes left, Rockford brought the game to within five points. Ultimately, three Rockford players fouled out of the game, and they sent the White Hawks to the line for a huge 33 attempts, securing a 56-44 victory. Thurston had a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds (and six steals), and White had 15 points with nine of them from the free throw line. Schaible put up 13 points, junior Makenzie Anderson had eight points, junior Abby Wharram had four points and four assists, ninth-grader Melissa Drill had three points, and senior Ryann Beyer had a free throw for one point.
The White Hawks will finish out their last week of season play in the coming week. Westonka will be on the road at Annandale on Friday, Feb. 24. The Section 6AAA Tournament begins Feb. 28.
Rockford game photos by Kristen Beyer
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Coach Alan Hiebert’s corner: New London-Spicer has an excellent basketball team, and when they play well and the other team plays poorly, it can get out of hand in a hurry. We had a complete defensive systems failure in that game; and that’s 100 percent my fault as head coach.
Rockford came at us the entire game. They never quit when it looked like there were a couple times when we were going to pull away. Even though we lost our composure for a while in the second half, we were able to keep things together enough and gut out our fourth conference win–compared to zero conference wins the last two seasons combined–so that feels good. Ultimately, I was proud of our kids for battling against a fired up Rockford team and a large and rowdy crowd. Games like this are memorable.
We’ll try and finish out the regular season strong against two teams that beat us the first time around in Glencoe-Silver Lake and Annandale. Senior Night on Monday will be bitter sweet as we both honor, and start to say goodbye to Ryann and Claire—two fantastic kids who have been leaders, mentors and friends to all the girls in the program over their careers.
I’d also like to pass on my sympathies to the family of Ann Bremer. Ann did a lot for youth basketball while her two children were in the program and was passionate about basketball in this community for a long time. Both of her daughters, Mollie and Paige, played for me. Paige played on the varsity team her sophomore through senior seasons, the last one being under coach Sobiech. Her husband, Scott, also helped out quite a bit with our end-of-season banquets. She will be missed and her contributions will not be forgotten or unappreciated.