The Menomonie girls basketball team has been taking steps in the right direction.
Their Big Rivers Conference (BRC) compass pointed towards Eau Claire North on Friday, where they locked down the Huskies’ offense in the second half to emerge with a 64-50 victory at Menomonie High School.
“It was a hard-nosed game against a well coached team in North,” head coach Storm Harmon said “Our girls adjusted well in the second half in cleaning up our weak side defense and we started to limit them to one shot during their possessions.”
The Mustangs (5-3, 3-1) sped out to a 13-3 lead just four minutes into the game with a pair of 2-pointers and a trio of threes. After the Huskies (3-4, 1-2) added five points, two from the free throw line and one from the arc, Tyra Boettcher drove through the lane to sink a smooth reverse layup to join the 1,000 point club.
North gained some momentum and went on a 13-4 run, which swiftly chipped away Menomonie’s lead to just one point at 20-19 with eight minutes left in the half. That energy then lifted them to a six point lead just moments later.
But Menomonie spent the next five minutes closing the gap, making three 2-pointers and a 3-pointer before halftime to grasp a 34-30 advantage as the first half expired.
Both teams came out in the second half hungry for control. Menomonie’s Kylie Mogen sparked a 10-4 run with a pair of 3-pointers, followed up with back-to-back field goals from Johnson and Elle Hemauer.
From there, the Mustangs moved the ball around well, utilizing Boettcher’s athleticism to drive to the net where she scored 10 of Menomonie’s 30 second half points, while Mogen worked the ball on the outside for six points. Johnson found five more points in the second half, adding one 2-pointer and a 3-pointer before time expired.
Menomonie held North to just 20 points in the second half, which included six inside baskets and just one 3-pointer.
The Mustangs went 10-for-14 at the free throw line while the Huskies made just nine of their 19 freebies.
Mogen and Boettcher led the game in scoring with 21 and 18 points, respectively. Mogen’s versatility provided the team with four 2-pointers, four 3-pointers and one charity point while all of Boettcher’s points came from the paint and free throw line.
Johnson also ended the night in double figures with 11 points, scoring four field goals and one from the arc. Hemauer finished the night with seven points while Sarah Stainer and Destiny Haldeman rounded out scoring from the line where they each capped on two baskets.
“I’m proud of the girls’ effort and execution in the second half,” Harmon said. “Our ball movement was the best it has been this year with making the extra pass. We are a work in progress and we need to keep taking steps in the right direction.”
Menomonie continued conference play on Tuesday as they hosted the Hudson Raiders (3-4, 1-2) and they head to La Crosse Logan (0-7) on Friday for a nonconference contest, which will wrap up 2017 games. The Mustangs return from the holiday break to host New Richmond (2-4) on Tuesday, Jan. 2 and Holmen (6-1) on Friday, Jan. 5.