Stoughton’s loss to Arrowhead chalked up as learning experience
MIDDLETON — Stoughton girls basketball coach Brad Pickett never shies away from good competition.
Pickett figures his team only can get better playing strong opponents, no matter the result.
Such an opportunity presented itself Friday at the Middleton Cardinal Showcase tournament. And Stoughton learned some valuable — and hard — lessons during a 55-30 loss to Hartland Arrowhead.
The Vikings (8-3), who are tied for the Badger South Conference lead with Monona Grove and Watertown, played Classic 8 Conference co-leader Arrowhead (7-3) tough for most of the first half before the Warhawks scored six unanswered points and took a 27-18 lead into halftime.
“That’s the only way you are going to get better is to play better teams,” Pickett said. “Our conference is absolutely loaded. I think if we are going to be successful in our conference, we are going to have to play tough non-conference games.”
Arrowhead junior Elise Whitmoyer, a 6-foot-1 post player, led all scorers with 13 points, including eight in the first half. Senior guard Emily Giese made two 3-pointers and scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, while 6-1 senior post player Lauren With had nine of her 11 points in the second half when Arrowhead outscored Stoughton 28-12.
The Vikings only made two second-half field goals. One was a 3-pointer by junior guard Megan Marggi, who came off the bench and led Stoughton with nine points. Senior Peighton Trieloff, who entered as the Vikings’ leading scorer (12.7 points per game), scored six points.
The Vikings were within 21-18 with 3 minutes, 26 seconds left before halftime— prior to Arrowhead’s 6-0 run in the final 70 seconds. Stoughton scored only seven points in the first 17:24 of the second half.
“Shots weren’t falling for us and were sure falling for them,” said Stoughton senior Emma Kissling, who finished with five points.
Arrowhead coach Rick Witte said the Warhawks executed their offense better in the second half and his taller team, which mixed man-to-man and zone defenses, limited Stoughton’s baseline drives after the break.
“I thought Stoughton did a great job that first half,” Witte said. “We put them on our schedule because it is a team that is going to battle. And you saw that the first half. We are looking at non-conference to get better. (Thursday), we were coming off a three-overtime loss to Bay Port (in Middleton) and we knew Stoughton was going to give it to us.”
After Stoughton senior Alex Ashworth made the first of two free throws with 8:40 remaining, Arrowhead used a 12-0 run to open a 55-25 lead with 3:57 left. The Vikings didn’t score again until Marggi converted two foul shots with 35.7 seconds left and connected on a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining.
“I think defensively we’ve been doing a good job (this season),” Pickett said. “We only gave up 55, which isn’t terrible. But we couldn’t figure out a way to find the basket. That is tough against really good teams and Arrowhead is one of those really good teams.”
Arrowhead — which was without 6-2 junior Madeline Walsh (leg injury), an Alabama-Birmingham recruit — advanced to the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals last season.
Kissling agreed Stoughton banks on its defense.
“We really put all of our effort out on the court, because we try to be the hardest-working team,” Kissling said. “Win or lose, I feel we are the hardest working team out there. We just try to frazzle teams with our defense.”
Pickett said the Vikings will look to improve after Friday’s loss.
“Good teams expose you — some of your weaknesses,” Pickett said. “We will go back and look at the film and say, `How do we do this? What can we do better? And how can we find a way to get some easy buckets?’It’s a good game for us to learn.”
Stoughton 18 12 — 30
Hartland Arrowhead 27 28 — 55
STOUGHTON — Zaemisch 1 0-0 2, Kissling 2 1-2 5, Trieloff 2 0-1 6, Ashworth 0 1-2 1, Marggi 3 2-2 9, Nelson 1 3-4 5, Royston 0 1-2 1, Baker 0 1-2 1. Totals 9 9-15 30.
HARTLAND ARROWHEAD — Quast 0 2-2 2, Frentzel 3 2-6 8, Giese 4 2-2 12, Deininger 2 3-4 9, Whitmoyer 4 5-7 13, With 5 1-3 11. Totals 18 15-24 55.
3-point goals — S 3 (Trieloff 2, Marggi 1), HA 4 (Giese 2, Deininger 2). Total fouls — HA 19, S 14.