A 19-point deficit couldn’t discourage the McFarland High School girls basketball team in its Rock Valley Conference game Nov. 26 at Clinton.
The Spartans came back to make it close, but just missed victory with a 52-50 defeat against the Cougars. The loss was McFarland’s first in the league after a win the previous week against Jefferson.
Spartans head coach Sara Mallegni said Clinton was a tough opponent.
“They like to get to the paint and do a good job by driving and posting up, as well as going hard after rebounds,” said Mallegni.
The Cougars made just two shots from 3-point territory but connected on 18 from 2-point range.
Despite hard work on defense, McFarland’s open shots were not falling in the first half as Clinton entered the locker room with a 22-15 lead. Mallegni encouraged her team to take higher-percentage shots in the second half.
“At halftime, we talked about the importance of getting to the basket when the threes aren’t falling. Once we started doing that, it helped build confidence and energy,” Mallegni said.
McFarland outscored the Cougars 35-30 in the second half, but couldn’t get over the hump.
The Spartans sank six shots from the 3-point line as Katie Hildebrandt hit two and led the team with 15 points. Lindsey Lonigro also hit a pair of threes and scored 11.
Senior Peyton Witt tallied eight points, senior Freya Gilbertson had seven, junior Morgan Butler put in six and freshman Adrienne Kirch added three.
McFarland had another good night from the foul line hitting 10-of-12 attempts with Hildebrandt making 5-of-6.
Five-foot-10 senior Addyson Ciochon led Clinton with 18 points and eight rebounds. Junior Olivia Roehl had nine points and four rebounds, and senior Liz Kalk had eight points and seven assists. The Cougars drained 10-of-20 free throws.
McFarland is home Thursday, Dec. 5, with a league contest against Big Foot with tipoff scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The Chiefs were averaging just 38.6 points in their first three games. They lost their first two games to Lake Mills and Whitewater, but defeated East Troy in the Nov. 26 home opener 51-38.
The Spartans travel to Rock Valley opponent Evansville on Tuesday, Dec. 10. McFarland has beaten the Blue Devils in 13 consecutive games dating back to the 2012-13 season. The last Evansville win came in December 2012.