Western Dubuque won a tight contest at Hempstead, Dec. 11, defeating the Mustangs, 48-43, to pick up its second Mississippi Valley Conference win in girls’ basketball action and improve to 2-3 overall. Hempstead remains winless at 0-4.

The Bobcats led 26-24 at the half, and extended the lead to five points, 35-30, after three quarters. When the two teams matched points in the final eight minutes, Western Dubuque picked up the in-county win.

“The key to this win was our ball movement on offense in the fourth quarter and knocking down our free throws,” said Western Dubuque coach Amy Ostwinkle. “We continue to improve our free throw percentage which is crucial in close games.”

The Bobcats converted 15-of-19 from the line and hit big free throws down the stretch.

Madison Maahs led the way with 17 points, while freshman Carson Koerperich chipped in 10 points, six assists and nine steals. Abigail Kluesner was tough on the boards with 10 rebounds.

“Maddy had a strong performance for us,” said Ostwinkle. “She really sparked our offense in the first half. Carson is relentless with her defensive pressure on the ball.”

Ostwinkle is impressed with her team’s effort on both ends of the floor.

“Our girls came out aggressive against Hempstead and we continue to get stronger and more disciplined on the defensive side,” she said. “Our focus in practice has been shooting over a contested hand and getting comfortable taking the shot. We shot the ball better against Hempstead, knocking down five threes in the game.”

The Bobcats’ leaders against Hempstead were: scoring — Maahs 17, Koerperich 10, Brooklyn Firzlaff six, Hailey Wulfekuhle five, Mallory Feldmann and Kluesner four, Morgan Mescher two; rebounds — Kluesner 10, Maahs seven, Firzlaff four, Wulfekuhle three, Koerperich two, Mescher one; assists — Koerperich six, Firzlaff two, Kluesner, Wulfekuhle and Mescher one; steals — Koerperich nine, Haylee DeLong and Maahs two, Kluesner one; team shooting — 14-of-47 (31.2%); team free throws — 15-of-19 (78.9%); turnovers — 13.

Not much went right for the Bobcats at Pleasant Valley, Dec. 8, as the Spartans raced to a 40-15 halftime lead, and held Western Dubuque scoreless in the fourth period on the way to a 59-20 verdict.

“PV’s defensive pressure and length got us out of our comfort zone early and we were unable to get in a rhythm the entire game,” said Ostwinkle. “We struggled shooting the ball and had too many turnovers to stay with a talented PV team.”

Western Dubuque shot only 17% from the field on the night, and was hampered by 33 turnovers.

“We knew going in that this game was going to be a difficult task, but our players wanted the challenge,” Ostwinkle said. “They are a competitive group that understands going against tough competition will pay off as we continue through the season.”

Western Dubuque’s leaders against Pleasant Valley were: scoring — Maahs seven, Kluesner four, Mescher three, Wulfekuhle, Natalie Leisen and Feldmann two; rebounds — Koerperich six, Kluesner and Mescher five, Maahs four, Firzlaff three, DeLong, Wulfekuhle and Feldmann one; assists — Maahs four, Koerperich two, DeLong one; steals — Koerperich, Kluesner and Wulfekuhle three, DeLong and Maahs one; team shooting — 7-of-41 (17.1%); team free throws — 6-of-8 (75%); turnovers — 33.