INGRID RUCKS

Deerfield sophomore Ingrid Rucks pulls down a rebound during the Demons' 65-23 Trailways South Conference win over Johnson Creek.

Deerfield is in position.

The Demon girls basketball team is now just one win away from clinching at least a share of its first Trailways South Conference title in eight years, following a convincing 65-23 win at Johnson Creek last Thursday.

Deerfield (13-5 overall) remains undefeated in the Trailways South at 9-0, one game ahead of Palmyra-Eagle which is 8-1. (The Demons hosted P-E Tuesday but the game finished after this week’s Independent deadline).

With just one senior on his roster and five freshmen playing major contributions, head coach Don Schindler didn’t really know if his team even be in contention, much less be in the hunt for a conference championship.

“Did I think we’d be in first place? No,’’ he said. “I think it’s a credit to not only the freshmen but the kids that were here last year. People like Hailey Eickhoff and Breanna Ezzell, and even Ingrid (Rucks) and Morgan (Mack), they’ve been the added pieces to that; wouldn’t be what we are without those kids who kind of know what to do.”

Four Lady Demons reached double digits, led by Breanna Ezzell’s game-high 16. The 5-foot-5 sophomore guard made 7-of-11 shots from the field and added eight rebounds and a team-high six assists.

“The great thing about Breanna is she has a competitive nature about her,” said Schindler. “She’s starting to take on a little bit more the leadership role which is great to see, and it’s great to see the kids really around her because she does get after it.”

Also reaching double figures were junior Hailey Eickhoff with 12, while freshmen Jayden Winger and Steffi Siewert each tallied 10 in the win.

Not to be overlooked was the all-around night by Moli Haak. The 5-7 freshman forward had team-highs in rebounds (13) and steals (3) while scoring seven points.

“Moli’s only going to get better,” Schindler said. “She’s got all the skill-set: she can handle the basketball, she can shoot from the outside and she continues to work on her shot because it’s a work-in-progress when you’re that young. We’re excited about where she’s going and the things she’s able to bring to the floor.”

Lexi Swanson led the Bluejays (2-17, 1-9) with nine points and nine rebounds.

UP NEXT

Deerfield, winners of five of its last six, will wrap up Trailways South play Friday and Monday with home games against Abundant Life/St. Ambrose and Williams Bay. Both tip-offs are planned for 7:15 p.m.

“We still have some big games coming up here and seeding for the tournament is right around the corner, so it will be exciting,” Schindler said.

DEERFIELD 65

JOHNSON CREEK 23

Deerfield 30 35 — 65

Johnson Creek 13 10 — 23

Deerfield (fg ft-fta pts) — Winger 4 1-2 10, Eickhoff 6 0-0 12, Ezzell 7 2-3 16, Siewert 4 2-4 10, Brattlie 1 2-4 4, Haak 3 1-4 7, Rucks 3 0-1 6. Totals — 28 8-18 65.

Johnson Creek — Swanson 3 2-7 9, Constable 2 3-6 7, Rue 0 1-4 1, Berger 0 1-4 1, Jablonski 1 1-6 3, Joseph 1 0-0 2, Walk 0 0-1 0. Totals — 7 8-27 23.

3-point goals — D 1 (Winger 1), JC 1 (Swanson 1). Total fouls — D 18, JC 16.

DEERFIELD 43 RIO 37

Deerfield turned a two-point halftime lead into a six-point victory beating Rio in a non-conference road game on Feb. 4.

The Demons led just 18-16 at the break but used a 25-21 second half to pull away from the Vikings, members of the Trailways West.

Ezzell scored 11 points to pace a balanced attack while adding team-highs with seven assists and four steals. Meanwhile, Haak scored nine and Winger, Eickhoff and freshman Grace Brattlie all chipped in six. Siewert rounded out the scoring with five.

McKenzie Sampson scored a game-high 10 to lead Rio.

DEERFIELD 43, RIO 37

Deerfield 18 25 — 43

Rio 16 21 — 37

Deerfield (fg ft-fta pts) — Winger 3 0-0 6, Eickhoff 3 0-1 6, Ezzell 5 0-0 11, Siewert 1 3-4 5, Brattlie 2 0-0 6, Haak 3 2-2 9. Totals — 17 5-7 43.

Rio — Hutzler 2 3-5 7, Sampson 9 4-4 19, Staveness 3 0-0 7, Loging 1 0-0 2, Hagenow 1 0-0 2. Totals — 16 7-9 37.

3-point goals — D 4 (Brattlie 2, Ezzell 1, Haak 1), R 2 (Sampson 1, Staveness 1). Total fouls — D 6, R 9.

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