With the postseason right around the corner, teams are looking for statement victories.
Statement made. The Waunakee girls’ basketball team earned one such victory on their home court Thursday night, blowing out the Eagles of Sauk Prairie by 39 points.
Sauk Prairie 41
Waunakee’s opening against the Eagles wasn’t quite perfect: for starters, they did lose the opening tip.
Just about everything else went the Warriors' way. They allowed just three baskets over the course of the game’s first 10 minutes as they opened up a 33-6 lead.
“It just shows the team that we can be when we play well,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Marcus Richter of the team's start.
Sauk Prairie – entering the game with a 12-8 record – didn’t allow the Warriors to coast from there on out, though. The Eagles ripped off a 12-0 run of their own to cut the lead to just 15 points.
“With their chaotic defense and the ball pressure they’re able to create, they’re going to turn you over here and there,” Richter added. “In that 12-0 run, they turned us over a couple times.”
Waunakee then turned to their outside shooting to keep the Eagles at bay; Elena Maier – who set a new season-high scoring output with 23 points on the night – hit three consecutive shots from beyond the arc to put her team up 42-18.
If Sauk Prairie had any hopes of mounting a comeback after starting the second half trailing 44-23, those hopes were swiftly dashed by Brooke Ehle. Waunakee’s senior guard sank a trio of three-pointers within the first two minutes of the half to increase the Warrior advantage to 30 points.
“We’re a good shooting team when we get kick-out threes and when we get dribble-drive actions first; that’s what we got tonight…” said Richter. “Other girls got great looks for Brooke, and Brooke’s been shooting the heck out the basketball lately. She knocked down some big shots to put the game back in our favor.”
The Warriors were able to rely on their shooting all night; in addition to their 12 made threes, the team shot over 82 percent from the charity stripe to maintain their lead.
With a huge lead, the benches cleared as Waunakee looked to get experience for players on the end of the bench.
“It’s great experience for some of the girls that are primarily JV players to come out and get to play real varsity minutes; it’s huge for them…” Richter said. “It’s great to get to see everybody get some minutes, especially in a home game in front of their friends and family.”
A total of 11 players added to Waunakee’s season-high total of 80 points, led by Maier’s 23.
Following Maier was Ehle with 17 points and Lauren Meudt with 11. Kylee Grabarski added eight points, while Ashley Sawicki tallied seven. Melanie Watson and Ava Bryan each scored three points, while Caitlyn Lynch, Ebba Harrison, Lauren Statz and Anne Dotzler rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.
Waunakee now boasts a 16-5 (9-4 Badger North) record heading into their final game of the regular season against Baraboo. Tip time at the Waunakee High School Fieldhouse against the Thunderbirds is scheduled for 7:15 on Thursday, Feb. 20.