Brodhead defense sets early tone in Rock Valley South
Brodhead set the tone for the Rock Valley South Conference girls basketball season Tuesday night, and it did so at the defensive end of the floor.
The Cardinals held Clinton seniors Megan Lantz and Mallory Niemann—first-team all-conference selections a year ago—to just two combined baskets, and they pulled away in the third quarter on their way to a 56-39 home victory.
The first battle between the likely top two contenders in the South came in just the second league game of the year.
“To hold a team like this to 39 is pretty good, so you’ve got to give the girls credit defensively,” Brodhead coach Brad Pickett said. “We held Lantz to five points and Niemann to six … and that says a lot about how the kids got after it.”
Never did that defense stand out more than an eight-minute stretch sandwiched around halftime when the Cardinals took the lead for good.
Clinton led 20-18 with about five minutes left in the second quarter, but the Cardinals didn’t allow another field goal until there were a little more than five minutes left in the third.
A 13-1 run over that stretch put Brodhead up by double digits.
“It was all about keeping our composure and staying positive,” said Brodhead senior Carly Mohns, who led all scorers with 20 points. “Jordan Halvorsen did awesome on Lantz. And just as a team, we did an awesome job defensively.”
Mohns scored 10 points in third quarter as the Cardinals stressed finishing their shots once they got to the rim.
“I thought the (score) would be a little tighter when all was said and done, but Carly is Carly and she can take over a game,” Clinton coach Mike Powers said of the University of Iowa recruit. “We started rushing some shots instead of working our offense and being patient.”
Senior Heather Buckler led the Cougars with 13 points. She made five of the team’s 10 baskets on the night.
With five returning starters, Clinton is expected to be the top contender to unseat Brodhead, which lost in a Division 3 sectional semifinal last season.
“I’ve got a great group that works their butts off,” Powers said. “They took it to us, maybe that will really inspire us.”