VALDERS – If there was a video for how to play stifling defense, the Valders girls’ basketball team’s performance Tuesday against New Holstein might be the show stopper.
The Vikings tormented the Huskies defensively, not allowing a field goal for nearly nine minutes in each half as host Valders rolled to the 65-24 victory in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference opener.
“Tonight was a nice solid performance by our group,” Valders coach Dan Wagner said. “It’s nice to take care of home court and get a win to start off the Eastern Wisconsin play.”
Taylor Doherty scored at the 9 minute, 30 mark in the first half to break through, while Mackenzie Doherty did the same at 9:04 in the second to provide a little lift for New Holstein.
The Vikings’ defense was so tough Alissa Wagner nearly outscored the Huskies herself in the first half. Wagner scored all 12 of her points before halftime as Valders led 34-13 entering the break.
Also having a big game for the hosts were Lindsay Glaeser, who had a game-high 13 and teammate Conner Grall added 11.
According to Glaeser, everything starts with defense for Valders.
“We’ve always been told since the beginning of the season defense is the key play to get the game done,” Glaeser said. “That’s what we were told to do, and that’s what we did.”
The performance by his team doesn’t shock Wagner.
“I am confident with my team,” Wagner said. “I feel we got an opportunity to win every game. I was very proud of our girls the way we defended. We make it very difficult for our opponents to get easy looks, and it wears on you. Then hopefully we can convert when we have our opportunities on offense.”
New Holstein was routinely bogged down in the half court, desperately trying to find an open player only to more often than not find one wearing the opposing jersey. Grall had several steals and scored on back-to-back possessions on easy layups.
The fast tempo was by design, according to Wagner.
“We kept New Holstein on their heels,” Wagner said. “We tried to push them as much as we could, and we were getting good looks out of that. It’s more fun that way. It’s more fun to play fast. The kids like it. I like it. The fans like it. I was happy with our performance out of transition tonight.”
Glaeser reiterated Wagner when she said she and her teammates were merely following their instructions defensively.
“Coach said before the game to push the ball really good,” Glaeser said. “We got girls up and down the floor. We got it to them when they were open.”
New Holstein 13 11 – 24
Valders 34 31 – 65
NEW HOLSTEIN: Meyer 1, Danes 5, M. Doherty 5, Leverenz 4, T. Doherty 4, Casper 5. 3-pointers: 2 (M. Doherty, T. Doherty). FTs: 6-12. Fouls: 20.
VALDERS: Grall 11, Stenzel 2, Evenson 2, Buck 3, Johnson 8, Egan 5, Wagner 12, Glaeser 13, A. Leschke 4, Isaacson 5. 3-pointers: 2 (Grall, Glaeser). FTs: 7-24. Fouls: 17.