Sophomore guard Lindsey Lonigro nailed three shots from the 3-point line and had a team-high 15 points as the McFarland High School girls basketball team took a 63-50 victory Friday over host Rock Valley Conference rival Evansville.
Head coach Sara Mallegni said Lonigro’s performance is the result of hard work in the offseason to improve offensively.
“It was only a matter of time that Lindsey would start being a big scorer for our team,” Mallegni said. “She has spent a lot of time in this past year working on her shot, and I expect that we will see a lot more of that from her as the season continues.”
Six-foot-one sophomore Katie Hildebrandt also reached double-figures with 13 points as did senior Morgan Butler with 10.
The Spartans jumped out to a 32-23 halftime lead and won the second half over the Blue Devils, 31-27.
Aside from Lonigro’s trio of threes, five other players also hit shots from beyond the arc including Ashley East and Annalise DeMuth, who both had seven points. Butler also made one along with Hildebrandt and Anna Luessman.
Evansville’s leading scorer Paige Banks led her team with 21 points, and Abby Eftemoff had 12.
Both teams had difficulty from the foul line. McFarland made just 3-of-11 attempts and Evansville was successful on only 13-of-29 free shots. Mallegni said the Spartans must get better on their free throws.
“That is definitely a concern. Because it has been a few years that most of the girls have played man-to-man, we are getting back to the basics: being on help side, early help, getting good angles, and fighting the urge to reach,” Mallegni said. “Those things will certainly help. We also need to keep looking to get the rim and work and getting to the line more ourselves.”
As a team, McFarland committed 21 fouls with Evansville whistled for 14 infractions.
The Spartans return to the hard court tonight with a home court against league rival Brodhead. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The Cardinals are 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the Rock.
Five-foot-three freshman point guard Kiarra Moe leads Brodhead with a 14.7 points per game scoring average. The Cardinals shot only 32-percent from the field in their first six games and hit 55-percent of their free throws.
Whitewater 53, Spartans 43
The Whippets took a 10-point halftime lead and went on from there to top the host Spartans Nov. 27. East was only double-figure scorer for McFarland with 15 points, Hildebrandt had seven, and Lonigro and Freya Gilbertson each had six.
Three Whippets ended up in double-figures, led by Cassidy Laue with 19, Abby Grosinske with 18 and Kacie Carollo with 10.
After Whitewater led 31-21, both teams played to a 22-22 tie in the second half but McFarland couldn’t get over the hump. Mallegni said the team will improve and play competitively against good teams such as Whitewater if it improves its fundamentals on the court.
“We are constantly talking about going back to basics; defensive fundamentals, moving the ball and getting good looks on offense, getting good spacing, boxing out and rebounding,” Mallegni said. “We will be successful if we play our game, play as a team with intensity and take care of the little things.”
The Spartans hit 7-of-14 free throws, and the Whippets sank 14-of-24.