Pressure defense keys Lake Geneva Badger win

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Eric Schmoldt
Friday, February 21, 2014

LAKE GENEVA—Lake Geneva Badger shook off a loss by getting back to what it's best at.

The girls basketball team got aggressive defensively.

The Badgers forced 17 first-half turnovers and allowed just nine points in the opening 16 minutes on the way to a 60-34 Southern Lakes Conference home victory over Elkhorn on Friday night.

“We couldn't wait to get on the floor tonight,” Badger coach David Jooss said. “I think our intensity was really good from the start. That's what I look for every game: Are we getting after it defensively?”

The Badgers (16-4, 10-2) were coming off a tough, two-point loss to Union Grove on Thursday that could have pulled them even with Wilmot atop the SLC standings.

Badger employed a variety of zone defenses that stymied the Elks in the first half, where they had just four baskets.

Junior center Lily Quinn had 10 of her team-high 17 points for the Badgers to help them out to a 31-9 lead at the break.

“We got off to a good start and got some steals in transition, and that kind of got us going offensively,” Jooss said. “(Thursday night) we forced turnovers, but we weren't able to turn them into points.

“We get after it and force turnovers, and I think that's what's helped us be successful this season.”

While the Badgers used several looks on defense, they almost always came with heavy pressure on the ball-handler.

“We played mostly man-to-man last year, but it was the right time to use it,” Jooss said. “This group, we have length, we have anticipation skills and we're deep. This is a defense you have to play hard, because if you don't you're going to give up easy baskets.”

Elkhorn senior guard Erin Schahczinski led all scorers with 20 points, thanks to six 3-pointers.

Junior guard Maria Mieres-Rey added 13 points and freshman guard Jennifer Freeman had 11 for the Badgers. They'll be looking for a top-three seed in their WIAA Division 1 regional—which includes Janesville Craig and Parker, as well as Mukwonago—when the coaches meet today.

And the Badgers still have a shot at a Southern Lakes title because they host Wilmot on Tuesday.

“It's one game at a time,” Jooss said. “I think that's one thing we've done really well this year. We don't look past anybody. All our focus right now is on Wilmot.”

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