GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Chargers fly past Raiders
ROUND LAKE -- Senior Audra Schmidt filled Westbrook-Walnut Grove's stat sheets Monday night, sparking the Chargers to a 45-36 victory over the Round Lake-Brewster Raiders in a Red Rock Conference girls' basketball game -- the regular-season finale for both teams.
Each team will begin Section 3A South tournament play at 7 p.m. Thursday night, as eighth-seeded W-WG (12-13, 6-11) hosts ninth-seeded Ellsworth, and No. 11 RL-B (5-18, 2-15) plays at No. 6 Edgerton.
Monday's game was a low-scoring affair, as W-WG jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and fought off a couple of hard charges from RL-B to claim a nine-point victory.
"It was kind of an ugly game, but we're happy to get the win," W-WG head coach Maury Kuehl said after the game. "We didn't shoot the ball very well, and I don't think we made a shot outside of 10 feet all night. All of our points came from inside the lane or at the free-throw line -- where we were 21-for-30."
Schmidt -- who finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, six shot blocks and three assists (all game-highs) -- banked in a 10-footer (the Chargers' longest made field goal) off an assist from senior Kassandra Jarmer (nine points, eight rebounds, four steals, three assists) to give W-WG a 38-33 lead with 2:43 to go in the game.
That basket stopped a five-point run by the Raiders and helped seal the victory for the Chargers, who made 5 of 6 free throws in the last 1:08 to pull away.
W-WG earlier led 33-25 with 7:12 left in the second half, but the Raiders -- who scored just five points in the first 11-plus minutes of the second period -- went on an 8-3 run to trim the gap to three (36-33) at the 3:44 mark.
Junior Ally Cross netted a turnaround shot from the left block with 6:37 left to start RL-B's comeback, while sophomore Ceilia Schmitz (team-high 13 points, seven rebounds, three steals) suddenly caught fire from behind the arc to help make it a one-possession game.
After Charger junior Kylie Erickson (nine points, three assists) sank a free throw to make it 34-27, Schmitz swished a 3-pointer from the right wing. Then, after Jarmer netted two free throws, Schmitz buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to pull the Raiders within three.
Schmidt answered with her 10-foot banker a minute later to make it 38-33, and junior Kristie Hoffman later came up with a steal -- leading to a pair of free throws by Erickson to put W-WG up 40-33 with 1:08 remaining.
Another free throw from Erickson, plus a break-away layup and two free throws by sophomore Chanel Madson (five points, four steals), off-set a 3-pointer by Raider senior April Wallace (nine rebounds, eight points) in the last 46.6 seconds to create the game's final margin.
"We made a nice run there in the second half, and we're happy we were able to keep the score as close as we did," RL-B head coach Eric Murray said. "We kept playing hard to the finish, and that's one thing these girls have done the entire season. We always hustle and play hard."
The Raiders also made a nice run in the first half, as they erased an early 9-2 deficit and evened the score at 18 with 1:11 to play before halftime.
Schmidt scored twice in the paint -- once on a pass from Kassandra Jarmer and another on a drive-and-dish from sophomore Molly Jarmer -- and Erickson hit a floater in the lane to spark the Chargers to a 9-2 lead at the 12:32 mark.
The Raiders scored six of the next eight points to make it 11-8 with 8:10 to go, as senior Chelsea Meyer had a driving basket before sophomore Mara Eichenberger went coast-to-coast for a layup and meshed a quick-release, mid-range shot from the right wing to trigger that spurt.
W-WG held onto the lead for the next seven minutes, but the Raiders received a nifty fast-break basket (Cross to sophomore Olivia Stanton), another driving hoop from Meyer and a 3-point rattler from the top of the key by Schmitz to help make it 18-18.
Kassandra Jarmer's offensive-rebound basket helped the Chargers take a 23-20 halftime lead, and W-WG then held the Raiders scoreless for the initial 5:29 of the second half.
The Chargers didn't score until the 14:22 mark, but two interior passes and baskets (Schmidt to Erickson, and Erickson to Schmidt) and a put-back basket by Schmidt allowed W-WG to take a 29-20 lead with 12:51 to go.
Twenty seconds later, Wallace bounced in a long 3-pointer from out top to give the Raiders their first points of the second half.
A free throw from junior Melody Horkey and a power-dribble basket on the right block from Schmidt helped the Chargers build a 32-24 lead with 9:03 to play.
W-WG later led 33-25 before RL-B countered with its 8-3 run to make it a three-point spread, but Schmidt and the Chargers held on down the stretch.
Junior Karen Schmitz had eight rebounds for RL-B, which played its final home game of the season. Seniors Kim Wiese, Anna Obermoller and Katy Johnson were each in the starting lineup -- along with Wallace and Meyer -- for the Raiders.
W-WG 23 22 -- 45
RL-B 20 16 -- 36
W-WG (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Erickson 0-2-5-9, Madson 0-1-3-5, Horkey 0-0-1-1, K. Jarmer 0-2-5-9, Schmidt 0-7-7-21. Totals: 0-12-21-45.
RL-B (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Eichenberger 0-2-1-5, Meyer 0-2-0-4, C. Schmitz 3-1-2-13, Wallace 2-0-2-8, Stanton 0-1-2-4, Cross 0-1-0-2. Totals: 5-7-7-36.