The DeForest girls basketball team was unable to break its losing streak to three-time defending state champion Beaver Dam, but the Norskies are closing the gap.
Since joining the Badger North Conference during the 2017-2018 school year, the Golden Beavers came into last week’s meeting with a four-game win streak over the Norskies. Beaver Dam won the first four meetings as conference foes by an average of 40 points.
The fifth-ranked Lady Norskies kept up with the top-ranked Beavers for the majority of their meeting on Jan. 7, but Beaver Dam pulled away late for a 62-40 victory.
“I thought it would be a little closer game,” DeForest coach Jerry Schwenn said. “Now we have to take care of our business so that we have the opportunity, when we play them at our place at the end of the season, to play for a conference title. This doesn’t change any of our goals.”
It was just the second loss of the season for the Norskies (10-2 overall).
Early on it looked like it would be another blowout win for the Beavers. They jumped out to a 9-0 lead behind three-pointers by Carley Burchardt, Jada Donaldson and Natalie Jens.
“It didn’t help us to give up three quick three’s to start the game,” Schwenn said. “In big games, if we are the type of team I think we are, we have to play better. We can’t allow the other team to get a big run to start the game.”
DeForest responded with baskets by Taylor Tschumper, Natalie Compe and Grace Roth to trim the deficit to 9-6 with 11 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the first half.
Beaver Dam answered with its second 9-0 run of the game to go up 18-16 with 7:50 left in the half.
The teams traded baskets the rest of the first half.
Megan Mickelson scored 10 of DeForest’s final 13 points of the first half. Compe had the only other points in the final push, as she drained a three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 28-19 at halftime.
“We had some players step up because we knew Beaver Dam would try to shut down Maggie (Trautsch) and Grace (Roth),” Schwenn said. “Megan Mickelson stepped up big for us.”
The Golden Beavers had another strong start to the second half. They scored six quick points to go up 34-19.
DeForest got back into the game with an 8-2 surge. Jaelyn Derlein canned a trey to trim the lead to 36-27 with 9:49 remaining in the game.
The Lady Norskies would get no closer, as Beaver Dam dominated the rest of the game.
“We were down nine points with just under 10 minutes to play in the second half and had two clean looks, but they had a three and a and-one,” Schwenn said. “We have to be able to take control in the situation and close the gap even more. We had a chance to put them on the ropes.”
The Golden Beavers took control of the game with a 21-1 outburst, which put them up 57-28 with 4:19 remaining.
“We have really gotten after each other since the Onalaska loss, and I thought we would do better with their defensive pressure,” Schwenn said. “We had a difficult time entering our offense.”
DeForest closed out the game strong. The Norskies outscored Beaver Dam 12-5 in the final 3:26.
Mickelson was the only Norski to score in double figures. She finished with 11 points.
Roth and Derlein both scored seven points.
The Beavers got 21 points from Natalie Jens, while Burchardt and Kylie Wittnebel added 13 and 10, respectively.
Sauk Prairie 57
The Lady Norskies bounced back from the loss with a conference win over Sauk Prairie last Friday.
DeForest is 6-1 in the Badger North and only trail Beaver Dam (7-0) by a game. Waunakee is in third place with a 5-2 mark.
The Norskies had a strong defensive effort in the first half and it helped them take a 34-25 halftime lead.
DeForest’s offense kept the pressure on in the second half with a 44-point surge.
The Norskies outscored the Eagles 44-32 in the second half.
Maggie Trautsch led four Lady Norskies in double figures with 18 points. Roth came away with 15 points, while Mickelson added 14.
Tschumper and Jocelyn Pickhardt both scored nine points for DeForest.
Olivia Paukner led Sauk Prairie with 15 points, while Olivia Breunig and Makenzie Breunig chipped in 14 and 11, respectively.