Jaelyn Derlein had quite an opening night performance.
In the DeForest girls’ basketball team’s 72-43 win over Baraboo on Friday, Nov. 19, the Norskies’ star set a new school single-game scoring record with 35 points.
“Jaelyn is very committed to being the best player she can be and doing whatever the team needs for us to be successful,” said Jerry Schwenn, head coach of the Norskies. “We have had some great basketball players come through our program and for her to break the single-game record is impressive. I am sure Jaelyn would recognize the efforts of all her teammates to make achieving this record possible.”
The Norskies are 2-2 to start the 2021-22 campaign, as they steamrolled the Thunderbirds, going on a 19-3 run to begin the game. Losses to Reedsburg and Pius XI Catholic (more details on that game will be coming) were sandwiched around a win over Middleton.
Against Baraboo, the Thunderbirds’ first points came on a free throw at the 10:45 mark of the first half. Baraboo’s first basket from the field occurred with 8:23 left before halftime, as DeForest’s defensive pressure was intense.
“We have a competitive and athletic team, with a strong passion for basketball,” said Schwenn. “That combined with it being our home opener, in our brand-new fieldhouse, and first home game in a couple of years ... needless to say, we were excited to play. Our pressure defense has the ability to create a lot for us offensively. We need to cut down our fouls, but overall I liked our rotations and aggressiveness. We have a lot of room for growth, but it was a great start and this group will go down in history for the first basketball game played in the fieldhouse.”
Derlein broke the previous all-time best of 33 points set by Arlene Meinholz in 1991. During a game in 2019, Aleah Grundahl scored 32 points. A total of 10 players scored for the Norskies, including Marit Manske, who finished with six points. Maci Bartels, Maya Pickhardt, Rylan Oberg and Jocie Pickhardt had five points apiece, as Oberg and Sophie Eiselt tied for the team lead in rebounds with seven.
Derlein also paced the team in assists, totaling four. DeForest racked up 14 steals as a team, as Jada Kelliher, Manske and Oberg all had three steals.
Reedsburg 66, DeForest 52
Going up against the No. 2 ranked team in Division 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Norskies put up a good fight, but the Beavers were too much for DeForest.
“They have a roster loaded with varsity experience and are one of the early season favorites to come out of our sectional,” said Schwenn. “The defensive pressure that we applied throughout the game was outstanding. It proved to the team that we belong in the conversation of top teams in the area. We have a lot of things to improve on, but for an inexperienced squad that confidence can go a long way.”
Avery Schaefer and Jocie Pickhardt scored 10 points apiece to pace DeForest, while Derlein added nine and Maya Pickhardt finished with eight. Derlein and Jocie Pickhardt totaled three steals each, while Maya Pickhardt grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and Oberg hauled in six boards.
It was a rough night shooting from long distance for DeForest, as the Norskies went 3-for-14 from 3-point range. Still, DeForest was competitive.
“Games against Reedsburg in recent years have been very physical, but we really matched their intensity level,” said Schwenn. “Our seniors (Avery Schaeffer, Maya Pickhardt, and Jocie Pickhardt) really elevated their game.”
Clamping down on the Cardinals, the Norskies’ fierce defense stifled Middleton on Saturday, Nov. 27, forcing 31 turnovers.
“Again, the tone for the game was established on the defensive end of the floor,” said Schwenn. “We forced Middleton into one five-second call, and they had to burn multiple timeouts just to maintain possession of the ball (as they were up against a 5-second or 10-second call).”
Schwenn said Derlein was effective in transition and Oberg established herself in the second half, when she scored all of her 10 points. “It was a very balanced, team game for us,” said Schwenn.
Derlein had another big night offensively, torching Middleton for 25 points. She also had seven rebounds and three steals. Oberg collected eight boards, but Maya Pickhardt led DeForest with nine rebounds, to go with her eight points.
Aspin Kelliher picked Middleton’s pockets for four steals.