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Lady Badgers bash Big Foot for sixth straight victory



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Badger senior Natalie Ortego soars to the hoop Monday night. She hit one of Badger's six threes on the night. Mike Ramczyk.

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Reeves (click for larger version)
January 22, 2013 | 05:51 PM
For a little more than 16 minutes, Monday night's Battle of Geneva Lake looked nothing like its David vs. Goliath billing.

The bigger, badder Division 1 Badger girls basketball squad hosted Division 3 neighbor, Big Foot, but the Badgers only led 24-11 at the half. After a Morgan Courier triple early in the second half, the Chiefs were as close as nine points. There was hope for a miracle upset.

But Badger suddenly turned the tables on its area rival. The hometown girls started hitting their shots, and a tenacious full-court press helped Badger outscore the Chiefs 15-4 in the third quarter en route to a 53-21 victory.

The red-hot Badgers have won six straight games and are 9-4 overall. It was Badger's third straight victory and fourth in the last five years against the Chiefs, who last won in 2010. Big Foot dropped to 3-12.

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Badger coach David Jooss commended his team, which grabbed 25 offensive rebounds and forced 29 turnovers.

"Our defensive effort was consistent throughout," he said. "That's something we've stressed. We've played well of late just because of our defensive effort. We had a string in the second quarter where we didn't knock down shots. We've matured because even when we're not knocking down shots, we're still defending. It ended up being the difference."

Jooss gave Big Foot and first-year coach Mike Dowden plenty of credit.

"Coach Dowden's doing a really good job over there," Jooss said. "He's got some good young players. He knows the game. I would look for Big Foot to be pretty good in the future."

Big Foot suffered a sloppy performance. Along with the turnovers, the Lady Chiefs scored single digits in each quarter and didn't have a player score in double digits. They hit 8-for-17 from the line and were outscored 29-10 in the second half.

"You can't do that an any level and expect to win," a frustrated Dowden said of his rebounding and turnover woes. "I was disappointed. They out-hustled us, they out-rebounded us and they outplayed us. Overall, it wasn't a good effort. Turnovers kill us."

Badger senior Karina Reeves, the team's leading scorer, led the offensive attack with 12 points. Senior Liberty Wieseman contributed 10 points off the bench and snatched some key offensive rebounds. Tristan Sproul added nine points, Lily Quinn had eight and Stephanie Espinosa tallied seven. Forced to shoot a lot of 3-pointers due to Big Foot's zone defense, Badger connected on six, with two apiece from Reeves and Sproul.

"Liberty came in and had a nice game for us," Jooss said. "Some of our bench players were able to score for us. Overall, we've had balanced scoring all year. Different people have played big in different games, and today was another one of those days."

At 6-1 in the Southern Lakes Conference, Badger has another nonconference game before a rematch against first-place Wilmot Tuesday, Jan. 29. The Panthers handed Badger its only conference loss. The Badgers are a perfect 6-0 in 2013, and Jooss said confidence is high.

"We're coming together defensively," Jooss said. "And we're starting to knock down more shots. That's making a difference in the win column. We talk about going 1-0 each game. Each day at practice is about getting better, and we've been able to do that. Our reserves really push our first group in practice. We have a very deep team, and that's helping us be successful."

Badger travels to Elkhorn Friday and Fort Atkinson Saturday.

Big Foot will look to snap its three-game skid Friday at Palmyra-Eagle (1-8 RVC). On Monday, Big Foot only had nine players. Dowden said a couple moved down to junior varsity, and Kristen Glade was out with a concussion.

"Right now, we must keep getting better," Dowden said. "I told the upperclassmen, 'You're running out of time.' You have to decide if you want it or don't want it. The underclassmen owe it to the upperclassmen to make a run. We're at a position where we have get better every single practice."

Badger 50, Union Grove 41

On Friday at Badger, Reeves showed why she's one of the most dynamic scorers in the area.

The 5-foot-9 slashing guard scored a season-high 26 points including 12-for-16 from the charity stripe to lead Badger to a romp of the Broncos. All 26 points came in the first three quarters.

Badger broke open a close game with a 17-7 third quarter and held on in the fourth.

Sproul iced the victory in the fourth quarter. The senior guard scored seven of her 12 points in the frame, including five free throws. For the game, Badger knocked down 20-for-33 from the line.

Union Grove was held to single digits in two quarters, and not one Bronco scored in double figures.

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