GIRLS' BASKETALL: Raiders run past Chargers
FULDA -- Everything is starting to come together for Fulda's girls' basketball team.
The Raiders clicked on all cylinders Friday night, shooting 45.2 percent from the field and forcing 21 turnovers in a 76-57 victory over Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
The victory earned the Raiders their first three-game winning streak of the season -- ending a drought that seems significant compared to the success they've had in recent years. Fulda recorded 12 winning streaks of three or more games in the past four seasons en route to back-to-back Class A championships. The Raiders had one losing streak in that stretch, and they haven't lost consecutive games this season.
"We are clicking a lot better together," sophomore guard Brittany Hulstein said. "We're not individuals anymore; we're a team."
Fulda coach Gregg Slaathaug downplayed his team's recent success.
"We're not rolling yet," he said. "We hope to be rolling here in the next couple of weeks, and we're getting real close. We're putting all the pieces together. We've had a long year, with sickness and injuries, but all the pieces are here, finally, and we're all getting back and getting used to each other right now. It's a lot of fun."
It wasn't much fun for the Chargers on Friday.
Fulda's team defense shut down the top scorer in the Red Rock Conference, W-WG's Audra Schmidt. The 6-foot-1 senior center, who's scoring more than 20 points per conference game, went 2-for-7 from the field and finished with seven points.
Schmidt was 0-for-4 with one point and three fouls at halftime. She picked up her fourth foul fewer than two minutes into the second half and eventually fouled out with 8:38 remaining in the game.
"That really hurt us," W-WG coach Maury Kuehl said. "With (Schmidt) in foul trouble, she couldn't be as aggressive as she normally is.
"It hurt us (Friday) because I really thought we could take advantage of our inside game against them."
Schmidt picked up two fouls in the first six minutes, and the Chargers didn't reach six points scored until 6:36 had ticked off the clock.
But they still were in the game.
After Molly Jarmer scored a put-back basket, Chanel Madson recorded a steal and dished to Kylie Erickson, who drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The Chargers' four-point outburst -- which spanned 14 seconds -- gave them an 11-10 lead.
But W-WG made just one of its ensuing 10 shots, and Fulda responded with an 18-5 run, during which Amy Paulzine scored six consecutive points.
The Chargers scored nine of the final 15 points of the first half to make it 35-24 at the intermission, but they failed to score in the first 4:39 of the second half.
Fulda took advantage, going on a 10-0 run. Two free throws by Kassandra Jarmer cut the deficit to 18 points with 9:03 remaining, but the Chargers went scoreless over the next 2:53, and an inside basket by Paulzine pushed the Raiders' lead to 27 -- their largest of the game -- with 7:07 remaining.
Paulzine scored 14 points -- seven in each half -- on 5-of-10 shooting.
"She's amazing; I love her," Hulstein said, referring to her senior teammate. "She's just an all-around player. She can post up, and she can do almost anything."
Hulstein and Mari Holinka each added 10 points, Courtney Hulstein had 11, and Kassie Wilkening and Krissa Kramer each added seven for Fulda.
Lane Gehl added 14 points -- 11 in the second half -- for the Raiders.
Erickson had a team-high 13 points and four steals, and Madson and Molly Jarmer each added 12 points for the Chargers, who shot 31.7 percent from the field Friday night and haven't defeated Fulda since 2003.
Fulda won the previous four meetings against W-WG by an average score of 41.2 points.
"I knew it was going to be tough coming down here," Kuehl said. "We've always had friction between these two teams; (it's) been kind of a rivalry. The girls are shooting for them because, for one thing, two years ago they buried us by 71 points down here. The girls haven't forgotten about that, and I haven't forgotten about that, either."
Madson had three assists, and Schmidt and Kassandra Jarmer each added seven rebounds for W-WG (8-9, 3-8), which is one win short of surpassing its win total from last season.
The Chargers went 13-77 in their previous four seasons. Fulda went 96-21 in the same stretch.
W-WG, which earlier this season recorded its first three-game winning streak in the past five years, will host Edgerton on Thursday.
Fulda (10-6, 8-3) will travel to face Jackson County Central today.
W-WG 24 33 -- 57
Fulda 35 41 -- 76
W-WG (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Hoffman 0-2-0-4, Erickson 3-2-0-13, S. Jarmer 0-0-2-2, Madson 2-3-0-12, Horkey 0-0-1-1, M. Jarmer 2-2-2-12, K. Jarmer 0-10-2, Schmidt 0-2-3-7, Woelber 1-0-1-4. Totals: 8-12-9-57.
FULDA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) C. Hulstein 3-1-0-11, B. Hulstein 0-1-8-10, Holinka 0-5-0-10, Wildfeuer 0-1-1-3, L. Gehl 0-4-6-14, K. Wilkening 1-1-2-7, Kramer 0-2-3-7, Paulzine 0-5-4-14. Totals: 4-20-24-76