The Fox Valley Lutheran girls’ basketball team struggled to take care of the ball on Friday night.
The Foxes also were a bit off on their conditioning. But for FVL coach David Wenzel, the 46-37 nonconference victory over visiting Appleton West was a necessary learning experience, especially over the holiday break.
“(The Christmas break) is a great time of the year to step back from basketball,” Wenzel said. “It’s also a time to get back into the gym and work on some new things and we did that a little bit.
“Was this perfect? No. But was there growth? Yes.”
That improvement was what Wenzel wanted to see from the seventh-ranked Foxes (8-1), whose only loss this season was to defending Division 2 state champion New London on Dec. 11.
FVL’s pressure defense did its part, netting 13 turnovers in the first half as Appleton West trailed 23-15 heading into the third quarter.
Appleton West (1-8) clawed back into the game to pull to within 32-27 by creating turnovers of their own, with Maggie Coughlin and Rachel Akgulian leading the way.
Abby Radue’s three-pointer in the closing seconds of the third quarter upped FVL’s lead back to eight and a three-pointer from Abby Huntington to start the fourth quarter energized the Foxes and gave them a comfortable 38-27 lead.
“I thought our girls answered with those threes and settled down on defense,” Wenzel said. “I also liked our composure with four minutes to go. We ran some clock and forced them to foul and took care of the ball a little better than we had.”
Wenzel said the extended Christmas break had a little bit of an affect on his girls.
“With the snow day before Christmas and then a game that was canceled, we had six days off,” he said. “And the girls came back … there wasn’t enough oxygen in the gym for them because of the lack of conditioning. Which was nobody’s fault, just reality.”
Radue had 13 points to lead FVL and Huntington added 12 points.
“We pulled together,” Huntington said. “We had our timeout and we know that we count on each other when we shoot it and get the rebound if we need it.”
Coughlin led the Terrors in scoring with 10 points, with Sarah Wiseman chipping in nine.
“Two out of our first three games were nightmares, but since then this has been a blueprint of our games,” Appleton West coach Richard Ruhsam said. “We make mistakes early. We throw the ball all over creation early and we get ourselves in a hole. They never give up though and we fought back. And we played a smarter second half. And we got back in the ballgame.
“But it’s tough in sports when you get way behind. You put all that energy into catching up and we just kind of ran out of gas at the end there.”
|FOX VALLEY LUTHERAN…||…9||14||12||11||—||46|
Appleton West: Coughlin 10, Verhyen 5, Washkovick 2, Wiseman 9, Meulemans 6, Steinke 3, Wypiszynski 2. Totals: 14 7-13 37. Three-pointers: Coughlin, Verhyen. Fouls: 13
Fox Valley Lutheran: Bauman 4, Radue 13, Blob 3, Schultz 7, Hammer 3, Dorchester 4, Huntington 12. Totals: 17 7-15 46. Three-pointers: Radue 3, Huntington, Blob. Fouls: 11.
— Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or firstname.lastname@example.org; On Twitter @PCRicardo