Monroe's big second half leaves Milton behind
Keen will probably feel even worse when he watches the tape of his top-ranked team finish the first quarter with seven points and seven turnovers.
Luckily for Keen, the fast forward button on the remote will lead him to better Cheesemaker basketball.
After staggering to an ugly 17-12 halftime lead, Monroe outscored Milton 28-16 in the second half and ended up with a comfortable 45-28 victory over the previously unbeaten Red Hawks (6-1, 3-1) in a Badger South Conference showdown.
Senior forward Jaime Armstrong had a game-high 18 points to help Monroe (8-0, 3-0) regain first place in the Badger South.
“I thought that the first half was battle of who was going to get the first little run and nobody really could get an offensive push,” said assistant coach Sam Mathiason, who ran the team in Keen’s absence. “The second half we were able to convert on a couple possessions in a row, and we have some kids who have played a lot of varsity games and the experience kind of took over.”
Meanwhile, Milton’s poor offensive effort left coach Scott Randle looking for answers.
“We’re trying to find our identity and find some chemistry,” Randall said. “I was not necessarily happy with our rebounding and boxing out, and we missed quite a few buckets in the first half that definitely would have changed the context of the game.”
Unfortunately for Milton, it was the Cheesemakers who changed the context of the game in the second half.
Six Monroe players scored during a crucial 13-2 spurt that put the game out of reach, 40-22, with just over four minutes to play.
Ashley Roherty’s four straight points cut the deficit to 42-28 with two minutes left, but that was as close as the Red Hawks would get.
“They’re (Cheesemakers) a tough matchup for most teams, and we (the Red Hawks) were no exception,” Randall said. “It’s tough when you’re mismatched in all five positions. We gave up quite a bit of height, which just makes it tough.”
Both teams made it tough on each other in the first half. Monroe and Milton combined for just four field goals in the opening quarter, with the Cheesemakers gaining the slight edge, 7-5.
Kylee Ritschard’s four consecutive points at the end of the second quarter gave Monroe a 17-12 lead at halftime. Milton never regained the lead after that.
“They (the Red Hawks) don’t give you a whole lot of easy looks, and we just tried to figure out what we could do to try to give us a little more room to work,” Mathiason said. “We just needed to find that consistency in the second half.’’
MONROE 45, MILTON 28
Monroe (45)—Brice, 1-0-2; Sutter, 2-2-7; Sellnow, 1-0-2; Hermanson, 1-3-5; Armstrong, 5-7-18; Ritschard, 1-7-9; Ditter, 1-0-2. Totals: 12-19-45.
Milton (28)—Blumer, 1-2-5; Davis, 2-1-5; Eide, 2-0-4; Roherty, 2-3-7; Holapa, 1-0-2; McNall, 1-0-2; Negus, 1-0-3. Totals: 10-6-28.
Monroe 7 10 15 13—45
Milton 5 7 8 8—28
Three point goals—Monroe 2 (Armstrong, Sutter), Milton 2 (Negus, Blumer). Free throws missed—Monroe3, Milton 3. Total fouls—Monroe 13, Milton 17. Fouled out—Blumer.
Junior varsity—Milton 39, Monroe 37
n Fort Atkinson 54, Stoughton 41—Fort Atkinson rode a 22-6 advantage in free throws to a Badger South win at Stoughton.
Lexie Weigand made 11 of 16 free throws in scoring 17 points for the Blackhawks (3-6, 1-4). She was 8-for-8 from the line through the first three quarters.
Marie Fitzgerald also scored 17 points for Fort, while Tessa Mersberger had a game-high 21 for Stoughton (2-5, 0-3).
FORT ATKINSON 54, STOUGHTON 41
Fort Atkinson (54)—A. Boos, 2-2-6; Weigand, 2-11-17; Bare, 1-2-4; Lyons, 2-0-4; N. Boos, 1-2-4; Fitzgerald, 5-5-17; White, 1-0-2. Totals: 14-22-54.
Stoughton (41)—Dallenbach, 0-2-2; Mersberger, 8-3-21; Rowley, 2-0-5; M. Bower, 1-0-2; B. Bower, 2-0-4; Arneson, 1-0-2; Krause, 2-1-5. Totals: 16-6-41.
Fort Atkinson 10 18 14 12—54
Stoughton 11 10 9 11—41
Three-point goals—Fort Atkinson 4 (Weigand 2, Fitzgerald 2), Stoughton (3 (Mersberger 2, Rowley). Free throws missed—Fort Atkinson 7, Stoughton 0. Total fouls—Fort Atkinson 8, Stoughton 20.
n Monona Grove 42, Oregon 26—Monona Grove pitched a 8-0 shutout in the first quarter en route to its Badger South Conference victory Friday night.
Jessica Schmitz and Alyssa Strangstalien each had 13 points for the Silver Eagles, while Megan Blazer added 12.
MONONA GROVE 42, OREGON 26
Oregon (26)—Rietzler, 1-0-2; Anderson, 1-0-2; Mantig, 1-0-2; Macaulay, 1-0-2; Hanson, 2-0-5; Sessler, 1-0-2; Kleitsch, 3-3-9. Totals: 11-3-26.
Monona Grove (42)—Ueserot, 1-2-4; Blazer, 3-5-12; Strangstalien, 2-9-13; Schmitz, 2-9-13. Totals; 8-25-42.
Oregon 0 6 8 12—26
Monona Grove 8 19 8 15—42
Three-point goals—Oregon 1 (Hanson), Monona Grove 1 (Blazer). Free throws missed—Oregon 6, Monona Grove 12. Total fouls—Oregon 26, Monona Grove 16. Fouled out—Kleitsch.