Wahlert Catholic used a 24-7 third-quarter run to break open a tight contest on the way to 63-51 win over Western Dubuque, in Epworth, Jan. 28. Wahlert stands 8-5 on the year after the win, while Western Dubuque falls to 3-13.
The Bobcats got off to a quick start looking to avenge an earlier loss to a solid Wahlert team.
Baskets by Carson Koerperich, Hailey Wulfekuhle and Madison Maahs pushed the Bobcats to an early 6-3 lead, but the Golden Eagles scored seven points in a row to lead 10-6.
The Bobcats — starting three freshmen — fought back, and late first-quarter baskets from Mallory Feldmann and Ella Clark had Western Dubuque within two, 16-14, after eight minutes.
Another Wahlert mini-run made the score 22-16, but a three-pointer from Koerperich and two baskets from Brooklyn Firzlaff, followed by a jumper from Maahs, had the Bobcats within a point at 26-25. A steal and layup from Maahs ended the half with Wahlert up 30-29.
“The last two days in practice I’ve really challenged the girls to respond to runs and I thought in the first half they showed what they are capable of,” said coach Amy Ostwinkle. “Our communication was better. We rotated very well in the first half.”
As well as things went in the opening half, they went downhill quickly in the third period. A 17-2 Wahlert run in the first five minutes saw the lead increase to 47-31, and it was 54-36 heading to the fourth.
“Their run started because our discipline fell apart on the defensive end,” said Ostwinkle. “Whether it’s a missed communication on a screen — and we were trying to switch on most screens — or you’re fronting when you are supposed to be behind, we have a team right now that is still learning that disciplined phase of the game.”
But as they’ve done so often this season, the Bobcats made a fourth-quarter run, and when Maahs hit from three-point range with 3:40 remaining, Wahlert’s lead was cut to 56-47.
Wahlert got a layup out of the ensuing timeout, and ran over a minute of clock on the next possession, forcing the Bobcats to send them to the line where the Golden Eagles were 22-of-28 on the night.
“We cut it down to nine and the momentum was going our way, but in this day and age with no shot clock, it was a smart decision for Wahlert to pull the ball out and run the clock,” Ostwinkle said. “Wahlert has four seniors starting. I know they were challenged at halftime to step it up, and they did. They really controlled the tempo in the second half and we got rushed in the half-court.
“Our girls worked extremely hard. I just told them if I was a team playing Western Dubuque right now I’d be a little worried because there are times that we are very tough.”
Western Dubuque statistics against Wahlert: scoring Koerperich 20, Maahs 13, Firzlaff eight, Clark four, Wulfekuhle three, Feldmann two, Morgan Mescher one; three-point goals — Koerperich and Maahs one; rebounds — Koerperich and Maahs six, Abigail Kluesner four, Clark three, Firzlaff two, Wulfekuhle, Erica Ernzen and Mescher one; assists — Koerperich and Maahs three, Firzlaff two; steals — Maahs four, Koerperich three, Firzlaff, Wulfekuhle and Clark one; team shooting — 21-of-44 (47.7%); team free throws — 7-of-13 (53.8%); turnovers — 20.