James, Blue Devils Scorch Bulldogs 37-22; Coleman Stuns Unbeaten Stephenson 53-52
Sparked by the play of talented senior guard Laken James, the Oconto Blue Devils scorched host Peshtigo 37-22 in a key non-conference clash Monday. Ranked 9th in the latest Division 4 state basketball polls, the Blue Devils sport an impressive 9-2 overall readout thanks to the talents of James. Headed to UW-Green Bay on a basketball scholarship, James riddled the M-O Conference leading Bulldogs (9-2) for 25 points in the big win.
Another M-O team stole the headlines in non-league play as Coleman (9-3) stunned previously undefeated and host Stephenson 53-52 Monday night. Stephenson sports a 10-1 cage mark and is currently ranked 8th in the Class D polls.
James Leads Oconto
Past Peshtigo 37-22
With an even eight minutes remaining on the clock and trailing 25-22, the Bulldogs took to their home floor Monday night with a shot at pulling off a major comeback and upset victory over the Oconto Blue Devils.
But when a team has a player like Laken James on its roster, things rarely work out in ideal fashion for the competition. James caught fire in the fourth, torching the nets for nine points and sparking a defensive effort that lifted the play of her teammates to an inspired stonewalling of the home team, which failed to get on the scoreboard in that pivotal fourth frame.
"It was a lot like the Little Chute game," said Peshtigo head coach Bob Kuchta of his team's troubles in the final frame and the loss overall. "We didn't score in the fourth quarter of that game either. We were turning the ball over when we needed shots. We were missing shots when we got opportunities. We have to do a much better job in the fourth quarter of taking care of the basketball."
The Blue Devils were in control of the game from the opening tip, riding the aggressive play of James, who would finish the contest with 25 points, to a 9-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Devils' standout served early notice as to what the rest of the game was going to look like. James scored early on from outside. She drove the lane and finished with the right as well as the left hand as she provided most of her team's early offense.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were settling for outside shots, shots that weren't falling, and the home team found itself in need of a halftime adjustment down 18-11.
Whatever coach Kuchta and his team discussed during the break seemed to work. They picked up their level of play and when Amanda Majewski pulled up and drained a three-pointer, the first successful long-distance shot from the home in 14 attempts at that point in the game, with under a minute to play in the third, it brought the home team Bulldogs to within three at 25-22.
That score held up through the rest of the third quarter and Peshtigo looked poised to at least make things very interesting down the stretch.
Instead, James decided to go ahead and will her team to a 12-0 run through the final frame. Not only did James score nine straight points herself to start the fourth, she did a lot to get her teammates involved in the final quarter as Oconto pulled away.
At one point, James forced turnovers on three-straight Peshtigo possessions. And when she didn't do the scoring at the other end all by herself, she was making smart passes.
One such pass, and maybe 'spectacular' is a better descriptor than 'smart' for this one, she went into the lane hard and took off towards the rim, only to be met in mid air by two Peshtigo defenders with a third Bulldog coming over to help. James rotated in mid air, absorbed the contact, and then no-look dished the ball over her shoulder to a teammate who had paralleled her down the floor for a highlight reel scoring play.
Brittany Marquardt and Carly Dietrich netted 4 points each for Peshtigo while Amanda Majewski added 3.
Coleman Pulls Off 53-52
Shocker Over Stephenson
The Coleman Cougars took their talents to Stephenson Monday night and handed the Eagles their first loss in 11 contests as they hung on for a hard fought 53-52 victory.
The Cougars found themselves trailing the speedy Eagles to start the second half but a scoring surge from Sammy Schaal, who drained four field goals in the first half of the third frame to help get Coleman in front 35-31.
With just over half a minute remaining in the game, it was all tied up before Coleman's Abby Bieber, who turned in a game-high 19 points, scored off a loose ball to put her team up for good.
In addition to Bieber's big scoring effort, the Cougars got 10 points out of Schaal and eight out of Makenzie Sadowski.
The St. Thomas Aquinas girls were added to the list of M-O teams defeated by Stephenson as they fell on the road to the talented Eagles 69-34 Thursday.
Taylor Wilson had a great game for STAA in defeat as she racked up 18 points to lead her team. Riley Schultz poured in nine for the Cavalettes.
Tiffany Wangerin of Stephenson led all scorers with 27 while teammate Kelsey Johnson added 16.
Gillett Falls To
The Tigers, despite closing the first frame Friday night at Southern Door ahead 9-7, dropped the non-conference clash by a final of 45-35 as the home team recovered in the second by outgunning Gillett 16-5 in the quarter.
Kara Brennan led the way for the Tigers with 10 points.
In a classic non-conference mismatch, the Crivitz gals fell to one of the top teams in the Northern Lakes Conference, Laona-Wabeno, 48-25 Monday.
Crivitz fell behind 17-3 at the first break and trailed 28-9 at intermission.
Ceanne Harrison scored 17 points for the winners while Courtney Schaefer added 12.
Brianna Kopp, Amanda Pickett and Payton Kaldenberg scored 5 points each for Crivitz.
Crivitz claimed the jayvee game 25-13.
STAA Cagers Clipped
By Stockbridge 56-20
Netting single digit points in each quarter, the Cavalettes came out on the short end of a 56-20 loss to Stockbridge Monday. STAA trailed 31-9 at halftime and was outscored 25-11 over the final 16 minutes.
Gabrielle Beranek and Riley Schultz tallied 5 points each for STAA while Taylor Wilson added 4.
Nicole Nadler pumped in 22 points for Stockbridge while McKeana DuPont tallied 16.
To Elcho 51-26
Wausaukee netted just 3 points in the first half and suffered a 51-26 road loss to Elcho Monday. The Rangers trailed 26-3 at intermission before getting the offense rolling and coming up short in the second half 25-23.
Jasmin Ramos topped Wausaukee with 12 points while Kaylor DeLaet added 6.
Makayla Raith fired in 18 points for Elcho, Kyleigh Decorah 10 and Shelby Ruthland 9.
Elcho also claimed the jayvee game 41-24.
Suring Loses Lead,Game
To Laona-Wabeno 48-38
The Suring Eagles were up 22-12 at halftime and looked to be in good shape to steal a victory from home team Laona-Wabeno. But the Rebels outscored the visitors 13-6 in the third and 23-10 in the final frame to pull off the 10-point, 48-38 come from behind victory.
Kelsey School had 12 points for Suring in defeat.
By Stephenson 68-15
The Rangers couldn't do much Saturday in Stephenson against the Eagles, falling behind 53-6 by halftime on their way to a 68-15 defeat.
Kaylor DeLaet's six points provide the lone highlight on the stat sheet for Wausaukee while Tiffany Wangerin shredded the nets for 26 points.
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