The Sheboygan Christian girls basketball team proved Friday night it might have partially closed the gap to Oostburg this year. But the Flying Dutchmen aren’t sealing anything shut.
In a game involving the top two teams in the Central Lakeshore Conference standings, the visiting Eagles fell behind early and trailed the rest of the way as defending CLC champion Oostburg fought off several comeback attempts to end Christian’s six-game winning streak and earn the 41-35 win.
“They’re a great team,” second-year Christian coach Paul Modahl said following the Eagles’ six-point loss, their smallest margin of defeat to perennial powerhouse Oostburg in the past 10 years. “They have great guards, they defended our post extremely well and they have great coaching.
“It was a physical game and a great learning experience for us.”
After winning the opening tip, Christian (7-2, 5-1 CLC) fell behind 5-0 but cut its deficit to 14-11 at the end of the first quarter as Carissa Wisse put up seven of her team-high 12 points in the frame.
From there, though, Oostburg (5-3, 4-0 CLC) ramped itself up defensively and held Christian scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter. Coming off their first two-game losing streak since 2011, and still trying to make up for the loss of injured senior guard Maria Huibregtse, the Flying Dutchmen held the Eagles to four points — all on free throws — in the frame.
“They took advantage of one of our weaknesses on defense (in the first quarter) but I was proud of us in the second quarter, that was a nice quarter for us defensively,” Oostburg coach Lisa Immel said. “I was pleased, we had some up and down moments, I wish more up, but it’s a work in progress. They are quick and they defended us well.”
Christian’s lack of offense also was hurt when Wisse — following a minute of playing without a shoe — had to come out and couldn’t get back into the game right away.
A Maranda Huibregtse halfcourt buzzer-beater gave Oostburg a 21-15 halftime lead.
“This was a good step in the right direction for us. We need some kids to step up and it’s gut-check time,” Immel said. “(Christian) is really quick and they defended our drives to the basket and fortunately we made things happen, but their defense played really well in my mind.”
While free-throws helped Christian stay in the game in the second quarter, the rest of the game was another story. The Eagles shot 8-of-17 from the free-throw line while Oostburg was 8-of-13, including five from Shannon Boldt, who finished with 11 points. Huibregtse had a game-high 15 points.
“Free-throws were a struggle, I know if we make a few more of those (things would have been different),” Modahl said. “I thought we handled their pressure pretty good, but this will help us. Every game we have to learn something to get better, and playing Oostburg will help us improve down the road.”
While Christian managed to make most of their pre-game 3-point attempts during warmups, the Eagles were held without a 3-pointer in the game. Hannah Modahl and Jess Lemmenes each scored nine points. The Flying Dutchmen made five, including two each from Huibregtse and Kimberly VanStelle, who finished with six points.
“Oostburg took away a lot of the things we wanted to do tonight, and that’s a credit to how good they are,” coach Modahl said. “We’ll be better because of this. I told the girls (in the locker room) we played a great game. Hopefully we can make adjustments and give (Oostburg) a battle when we play them in our gym.”
Sheboygan Christian — C. Wisse 12, Modahl 9, Lemmenes 9, J. Wisse 3, VanEss 1. FT: 8-17. Fouls: 16.
Oostburg — Huibregtse 15, Boldt 11, VanStelle 6, Gabrielse 4, Hranicka 2, Bonnett 2, Hartmann 1. 3-pt: Huibregtse 2, VanStelle 2, Gabrielse 1. FT: 8-13. Fouls: 16.