With the Sheboygan South girls basketball team doing its best to shut down Sheboygan North’s 6-foot-3-inch tandem of Mackenzie and Madison Wolf, Golden Raiders guard CJ Usadel got plenty of open looks. She hit nearly all of them.
The senior poured in a game-high 17 points with two 3-pointers as host Sheboygan North raced out to an early lead and never looked back in a 62-44 win over its crosstown rival on Saturday night.
With Madison Wolf garnering most of South’s attention — she finished with 15 points with seven coming on free throws — Usadel took full advantage by following up her 13-point performance in North’s critical Fox River Classic Conference win over De Pere last week with another memorable performance.
“She is finding more and more ways to score within our offense as the season progresses and she took what the defense gave her,” North coach Eric Spielman said. “She does what she needs to do for us to win games.”
North raced out to a 9-0 lead and led 18-8 after the first quarter. Starting the second quarter on a 7-0 run, the Golden Raiders (6-0, 3-0 FRCC) led South (3-3, 1-2) 33-14 at halftime. The Redwings trailed the entire game.
The Golden Raiders offense consisted of dishing the ball inside to the Wolfs. When the Redwings successfully shut them down, the ball was kicked back out to an open shooter — North had four players with six points.
For South, it was a struggle to put points on the board early as North’s zone kept the Redwings’ inside shot attempts to a minimum with South being unable to knock down the open looks when they had them.
“I don’t know what to attribute it to, we just started off slow” South coach Tyler Thomas said when asked about his team’s sluggish start offensively. “It’s hard to mimic 6-foot-3-inch kids during practice. We did the best we could this week with that but they are a better team right now than we are.”
Making matters worse, South had a hard time staying out of foul trouble. Redwings starter Camber Posewitz picked up her second foul early in the first quarter and had to sit an extended period of time. In the second half, North got in the bonus early and took full advantage.
Overall South finished with 26 fouls to North’s 15. The Golden Raiders shot 15-of-31 on free throws while the Redwings finished 6-of-15.
“Offensively we were good in the first half. We played efficient and we accomplished what we were looking to do on each possession,” Spielman said. “Certainly we take a lot of positives away from this game.”
South’s offense got going in the second half with North switching to a man-to-man defense on several possessions.
Lauren Pfile and Poswitz each had eight points while Jessika McNellis had seven points to lead the Redwings, who made a pair of 3-pointer’s to North’s five but managed to outscore the Golden Raiders 30-29 in the second half.
“In the fourth quarter, some teams would have quit, but I don’t think we did,” Thomas said. “I told the kids I was proud of them for staying and fighting.
“We just didn’t make shots. You can attribute that to North’s defense, but it if we hit any shots from the outside it’s a whole different ball game. It’s a credit to North’s defense for being something we can’t mimic in practice.”
Sheboygan North — Konter 6, Jaelyn Walter 6, Opie 3, VanCalligan 1, Gosse 6, Mackenzie Wolf 6, Usadel 17, Madison Wolf 15, Gentine 2. 3-pt: Usadel 2, Walter 2, Opie 1. FT: 15-31. Fouls: 15.
Sheboygan South — N. Primas 3, Wojcik 3, Posewitz 8, Pfile 8, H. Primas 3, Schleicher 4, McNellis 7, Pulido 2, Pfile 8, Weimann 6. 3-pt: Wojcik 1, H. Primas 1. FT: 5-16. Fouls: 26.