The Menomonie girls basketball team was not its usual self Friday, as they were rolled by Chippewa Falls Friday at Menomonie High School.
Chi-Hi snatched an early lead and never looked back en route to a 68-46 victory over Menomonie in a typical hard fought Big Rivers Conference (BRC) battle.
The Mustangs (2-2, 1-1) were met with an aggressive Cardinal (3-2, 2-0) defense, causing their usual on-point shooting to fall short or sail wide. Menomonie was only able to sink one 2-point basket and go 1-for-2 at the free throw line in the opening minutes of the first half to Chi-Hi’s four 2-pointers, one 3-pointer and one freebie.
Menomonie’s Tyra Boettcher went to the glass for two, followed by Elle Hemauer’s 3-point basket to bump the Cardinal’s lead down to 12-7, but a pair of 3-pointers from Chi-Hi lifted them up to a 10-point advantage.
Hemauer hit another basket from the arc, which sparked a 9-0 run for the Mustangs. Her 3-pointer was followed by a trio of field goals from Kylie Mogen and Tyra Boettcher, which cut Chi-Hi’s lead down to just one point with 5:56 to go in the first half.
But that’s all the momentum the Mustangs could muster in the remaining minutes before halftime, as Chi-Hi rallied to increase their lead to 26-18 before being sent to the line five times where they shot 7-for-9 to end the half with a 32-22 lead.
The second half began with Menomonie cutting Chi-Hi’s 10-point lead down to six. But they got into early foul trouble, giving away four freebies to cancel out their four early points. Though the Mustangs managed to sink a couple of field goals, the Cardinals went on a hot streak from the 3-point line, adding a trio of 3-point baskets in just a matter of two minutes.
Now at a 54-32 lead with nine minutes left to play, the Cardinals had taken full control of the game and successfully locked down Boettcher and Mogen, two of Menomonie’s highest scorers.
The Cardinals saw four players in double digit territory and hit eight 3-pointers total. They also shot well from the free throw line, making 18 of their 26 attempts.
Hemauer led the Mustangs with 13 points, while Boettcher wrapped up the night with 11. Lindsey Johnson and Mogen added six apiece while Maddie Mcleod and Madison Davis each chipped in five points.
Menomonie spends this week on the road, which began with a nonconference contest Tuesday at Onalaska (4-1) before resuming conference action Friday in River Falls (0-4, 0-1).