MG hands Goslings first loss
Watertown’s girls basketball team dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 54-40 Badger South loss to Monona Grove on Thursday at Watertown High School.
Senior forward McKenna Warnock scored 22 of her game-high 31 points in a decisive first half to propel Monona Grove (10-1, 5-1 in conference) to a 32-18 win. Watertown (8-1, 5-1) never got closer in the second half.
“She got her average,” Watertown girls basketball coach Matt Stollberg said of Warnock, a University of Iowa recruit.
“I thought we did a really nice job defensively most of the game. We uncharacteristically left some weak side passes go in there, but it’s a result of trying to get an extra step out on where she is.
“So typically that pass would end up on her side, so she was up and they would cut behind and that’s where we would lose them, because that’s where we would try to shadow her a little bit, for good reason.
“So we gave up a couple inside that we normally wouldn’t. She always takes a lot of free throws off of offensive rebounds and she’s a good leaper so she elevates really quickly and gets a lot of offensive rebounds.”
Warnock showed off her inside-out game with nine baskets including five from 3-point range. She also made 8-of-10 free throws. Junior guard Jenny Gorton (nine points) and senior forward Julia Bruns (seven points) complemented Warnock on the offensive end.
“I think (Warnock) missed maybe one open 3 all night,” Stollberg said. “We didn’t give her that many good looks. Maybe it will be different when I look at it on film, but defensively, I was actually pretty happy with what we did. We played some box-and-one in the first half. I just didn’t like how overextended we had to be in the looks. They have six girls that are shooting
30% or better from 3.
“You have to pick your poison. I thought we were doing a decent job contesting her in our normal defense, within our 1-3-1, and obviously she still was able to hurt us.”
Watertown entered the game allowing just 36 points per contest, so allowing 32 in the first half put a lot of pressure on the Goslings offensively.
They hit four 3s in the first half — two by senior guard Jenna Koepp and one each from senior guard Payton Zubke and freshman guard Lily Gifford — but it wasn’t enough to keep pace. Sophomore guard Aubrey Schmutzler and sophomore forward Teya Maas each scored seven points during a back-and-forth second half. Schmutzler led Watertown with 11 points.
“I’m really not upset with how we played or the effort we gave,” Stollberg said. “I thought we played really hard. We had some costly turnovers early and then we were able to calm that down and not turn it over too much in the second half. It wasn’t our night in a lot of ways.”
The loss creates a three-way tie atop the league standings between Watertown, Monona Grove and Stoughton, which defeated Monona Grove 75-55 on Nov. 20.
“That game was an anomaly,” Stollberg said. “(Monona Grove) didn’t shoot well. Stoughton’s very good. That’s the thing about our conference. You’re going to get a game every time.”
Watertown plays in the Stevens Point tournament at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 28. The Goslings take on Stevens Point on the first night at 6 o’clock, then face Aquinas the next day at 1:45 p.m.
JV, JV2 teams fall: Watertown’s junior varsity lost 38-27. Sydney Linskens led the Goslings with six points. Watertown’s JV2 team lost 47-23.
MONONA GROVE 54, WATERTOWN 40
Monona Grove 32 22 — 54
Watertown 18 22 — 40
Monona Grove (fg-ft-tp) — Nelson 2-0-5, Gorton 4-0-9, Warnock 9-8-31, Kellogg 1-0-2, Bruns 3-1-7. Totals 19 9-15 54.
Watertown (fg-ft-tp) — Zubke 1-0-3, Koepp 3-0-8, Hendricks 1-0-2, Gifford 1-0-3, Schmutzler 5-0-11, Korducki 2-0-4, Maas 1-5-7, Moldenhauer 1-0-2. Totals 15 5-10 40.
Three-point goals — MG, Nelson, Gorton, Warnock 5; W, Zubke, Koepp 2, Gifford, Schmutzler.
Total fouls — MG 16, W 15.