Everyone who stepped onto the court Tuesday night had a hand in the Mustang girls basketball’s 72-52 victory over La Crosse Central at Menomonie High School.
The Mustang’s (1-1) home opener showcased 10 different players adding points to the board, with junior Kylie Mogen and senior Tyra Boettcher leading the pack at 22 and 19 points, respectively.
Tuesday’s win brimmed with energy, which coach Storm Harmon noted was a key factor missing from Friday’s season-opening 60-38 loss to Tomah.
“I think that was the big thing, we didn’t show any energy on Friday and then tonight we wanted to be a little more us ... we did what we wanted to do.”
Menomonie put the pressure on hard and fast, using a full court press to jump out to a 12-0 lead. Central (1-1) finally got on the board after Menomonie sent them to the line where they capped one of two freebie opportunities with 12:54 left in the first half. Boettcher, Mogen, Elle Hemauer and Lindsey Johnson all contributed to the Mustang’s first 12 points.
The Mustang’s aggressive style proved successful on both ends of the floor, as they capitalized on a number of turnovers, steals, and second and third scoring opportunities.
Though the Mustangs set the pace for the game and led the entirety of the match, their only downfall was giving the Raiders a third of their points from the line, shooting double bonus in both halves. Still, the Mustangs led 31-18 at the half and extended that lead to 20 points by the end of the game.
Mogen was the high scorer of the first half, sinking two three’s to start her night, then capped off with three 2-pointers, two of which came from offensive rebounds. Boettcher showed up in the second half, where she put up 17 of her 19 total points. She had multiple drives and breakaways to the glass and also sank one from beyond the arc.
Hemauer was also a strong first half scorer where she put up all of her night’s eight points. She also began her night with a 3-pointer and wrapped scoring up with two 2-pointers and went 1-for-3 at the free throw line.
Lexi Hastings was also among the night’s 3-point makers, with one in the first half, then adding one 2-pointer and two of three freebies in the second half, to end her night with seven points.
Other Mustangs to add to the board were Emily Schwartz and Destiny Halderman with four points apiece and Lindsey Johnson, Annie Behrend, Clair Shoenberger and Maddie McLeod contributed two points each.
The Red Raiders shot 76 percent from the free throw line, sinking 23 of their 30 opportunities, while the Mustangs shot 42 percent from the line, making five of their 12 freebies.
“We’ve got to move our feet and keep our hands out wide,” Harmon said regarding the amount of fouls the Mustangs racked up throughout the night. “Obviously, we have a lot to clean up, but the big piece is that we did what we wanted to do with energy tonight. ... We hope to build off of it.”
The Mustangs return from the holiday break to dive right into Big Rivers Conference play with an away match against Eau Claire Memorial (0-2), then head back home to host Chippewa Falls (1-1) on Friday.