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Prep Girls Basketball | McDonell 51, Cadott 36

Watch Now: Prep Girls Basketball: McDonell prevails over Cadott in battle of Western Cloverbelt second-place squads

Cadott at McDonell girls basketball 1-11-22

McDonell's Lauryn Deetz goes up for a layup against Cadott on Tuesday evening at McDonell.

The McDonell girls basketball team stayed on the heels of unbeaten Osseo-Fairchild in the Western Cloverbelt title race by earning a 51-36 win over Cadott in a battle of second-place teams Tuesday evening at McDonell.

Lauryn Deetz led all scorers with 23 points for the Macks (9-2, 5-1) while Lauryn Goettl paced the Hornets (10-2, 4-2) with 14 points.

Tuesday’s matchup was an important one for both programs as they aim to stay within striking distance of the unbeaten Thunder at the top of the league standings. McDonell did so with its familiar combination of high-pressure defense and solid offense led by Deetz as the Macks played at home for the first time in a month.

“I knew we were playing a good team,” McDonell coach Don Cooper said of the matchup with Cadott. “They were hot, they were on fire and being on the road for so long and having that homecourt (boost)…we were just finally ready to be at home.”

McDonell methodically pulled away in the first half and closed the final three minutes and 25 seconds with a 9-3 run capped by Marley Hughes’ steal and layup with six seconds left to take her team into halftime in front 29-15. The Macks continued to put the pressure on in the second half and didn’t allow the high-scoring Hornets to mount a rally to cut the deficit to single digits.

“It’s a tough matchup and this is the best team we’ve played all year,” Cadott coach Dave Hazuga said of facing McDonell. “They’ve got the best record of any team we’ve played all year, they’ve beat people we haven’t played yet or already had a lost too and we knew this was going to be our toughest game and we did a lot of little things that we could’ve done better and the game could’ve been maybe a little bit tougher but it kind of got away from us early. We stuck with it. I thought we didn’t quit. We definitely learned a lot from this game.”

Cadott entered Tuesday’s game on a seven-game winning streak and off to the program’s best start to a season since beginning 11-1 in 1998-99 when the program won its most recent Western Cloverbelt championship. A young and growing Hornet squad with just one senior has been led by the junior trio of Goettl, Elly Eiler and Laken Ryan for scoring. The trio entered Tuesday’s game combining for nearly 43 points per game but the Macks limited the three to a total of 24 points. Defensively the lengthy and athletic Hornets have made life tough for opponents with its 1-3-1 zone, but the Macks were able to stay disciplined and find quality looks near the basket.

“We were patient with their zone,” Cooper said. “Dave (Hazuga) creates a lot of turnovers off his zone but we were patient getting looks inside and then getting it kicked out.”

Cadott’s 10 wins is already tied for the second most in a single season for the program in the 21st century. The Hornets posted a 13-11 record two years ago and are well on their way to their second winning record in three seasons. But for a program that has returned to prominence in recent years, Tuesday’s game in a loud environment against a quality foe is the kind of contest Cadott doesn’t have much experience in but Hazuga believes the team can learn a lot from going forward.

“I think what they need to take away is more on the mental aspect of it,” Hazuga said. “This team (McDonell) they were really up for us. I’ve never seen a McDonell team get this jacked up to play us because they didn’t want to lose and they thought if they don’t play a great game they could but I don’t think they think we’re an easy win. So I think our girls need to feel, and I felt it as a coach, is this game has a lot of meaning to the other team and this atmosphere is different in January. I think they’ve got to feel that because I think that was in our heads as the game went on.”

Eva Enestvedt added eight points and Ryan scored six on a pair of 3-pointers.

The Hornets play at Eau Claire Regis on Friday in the third of six straight games on the road with a busy slate of games next week at Boyceville (Jan. 17), Osseo-Fairchild (Jan. 18) and Stanley-Boyd (Jan. 20).

“We found out new stuff tonight and this team will continue to get better,” Hazuga said. “We’ll get back at it (in practice). This team will only get better.”

Hughes, Emily Cooper and Aubrey Dorn each scored six points in McDonell’s fourth win in a row. The Macks fell at Osseo-Fairchild 45-38 on Dec. 19 before suffering a 43-41 nonconference loss at Rice Lake on Dec. 29. The victory keeps McDonell one game back of Osseo-Fairchild in the league standings after the Thunder earned a 70-42 win in Bloomer on Tuesday.

McDonell hosts Stanley-Boyd on Friday before nonconference tests early next week against Rochester Lourdes (Monday) and Division 4 state-ranked Neillsville (Tuesday).

“They’re very excited to be home and to play like we did tonight,” coach Cooper said. “Hopefully we can build that momentum. We’ve got some big games coming up and hopefully we can build on that.”

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