There’s one place in DeForest where theft is legal.
At the Fieldhouse, it’s not only allowed, but it’s also encouraged, as the Norskies’ girls’ basketball team turned a rash of steals into easy fastbreak baskets in a 71-53 non-conference win on Saturday at home over Middleton. The Norski defensive pressure was relentless.
“It’s all about reading the play, anticipating passes and knowing where they’re coming,” said Aspin Kelliher, who led DeForest with 22 points, to go with five rebounds and two steals. “We all know to rotate on defense and talk to each other.”
It was the third straight win for the Norskies, as they improve to 3-1 overall. With each game, DeForest is getting better in every aspect.
“Progress over perfection. That’s what Jerry tells us,” said Jada Kelliher, who finished with 13 points and a team-high five steals.
Jerry is Jerry Schwenn, head coach of the Norskies. He said his team is focusing on defending all five positions on the court. That, in turn, is generating transition offense for a DeForest team that is quick and scrappy on defense. The Norskies finished the game with 15 steals as a team, including 11 in the second half.
“Our help defense is getting better, our rebounding is better,” said Schwenn.
Against Middleton, it was a nip-and-tuck contest early on, before DeForest went on a 20-4 run and get out to a 31-15 lead with 2:43 left in the first half. Jada Kelliher scored on a layup after the Norskies broke Middleton’s full-court press to put DeForest up by 16. Then, Aspin Kelliher drove to the basket after another the Norskies again handled the Cardinals’ press with ease and scored, making it 33-18. The halftime score was 33-20.
It was more of the same early in the second half, as Ally Armstrong, who hauled in a team-high six rebounds, caught a long pass and got a layup, just before Jordyn Derlein scored off a Middleton turnover, extending DeForest’s advantage to 17 points. Jordyn Derlein finished with three steals.
Jada Kelliher terrorized Cardinal ballhandlers in the second half, coming up with all five of her steals. After grabbing a pass in the Middleton backcourt, she took it all the way for another layup to make it 43-24 with 15:29 to play.
The Cardinals cut into the deficit with a 10-4 run but DeForest quickly stopped the bleeding. After Aspin Kelliher knocked down a pair of free throws, Jada Kelliher got another steal and raced up court for a layup.
Audrey Deptula helped Middleton get back in it, hitting a short jumper with 9:03 to go and sank a 3-pointer from deep to get the Cardinals to within 10 points of DeForest 21 seconds later.
Jaelyn Derlein, who also scored in double figures for DeForest with 10 points, responded with a 3-pointer of her own, and Maci Bartels stripped a Middleton ballhandler and took it in for a layup to push the Norskies’ lead back to 56-41.
Then, Aspin Kelliher took over, scoring seven straight points—one basket coming on a circus layup, as she was fouled on the play. Moments later, she completed a three-point play after getting fouled again while driving the lane. With 4:18 remaining, DeForest led 65-45. It was too big of a mountain for Middleton to climb.
DeForest 73, Reedsburg 60
The Norskies avenged a loss at sectionals to the Beavers that ended their 2021-22 season, as DeForest outscored Reedsburg 47-28 in the second half on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
“I think our defense kickstarted our offense (against Middleton),” said Schwenn, “and it was the same thing on Tuesday.”
DeForest was down by five with 7:46 to play. Then, the Norskies turned up the heat on defense and went on a 29-6 run to take control.
“When we realize how good we can be on defense, we can be really good,” said Schwenn.
The Norskies won despite Sydney Cherney scoring a game-high 42 points for Reedsburg. Three players scored in double figures for DeForest, as Jada Kelliher led the way with 18 points. Jaelyn Derlein had 17, while Ally Armstrong finished with 13. Aspin Kelliher had nine.