Things are back to normal for Whitewater High’s girls basketball program.
The Whippets came into the season riding a 56-game conference winning streak and having won four straight Rock Valley North Conference titles.
A red flag went up, however, when Whitewater was throttled 91-50 in its season opener against Marshall.
In their next game, the Whippets fell to 0-2 and saw their league winning steak snapped in a 47-33 loss to Jefferson.
Fast forward a month later, and it’s clear that any rumors of the demise of the Whitewater program were greatly exaggerated. The Whippets have won seven straight and are one game behind front-running Jefferson in what is now a combined 10-school Rock Valley Conference.
Whitewater coach Judy Harms said her team has grown up quickly.
“I think, more than anything, the team is not playing nervous anymore,” Harms said. “They came into the season knowing that Myriama Smith-Traore (Marquette) and Rebekah Schumacher (UW-Whitewater) were not going to be here, and that Ali Ketterhagen probably wouldn’t play until after the first of the year. That, along with our inexperience, showed the first two games.
“But we sat down as a team and had a meeting where I had each kid write down one word to describe their role on the team. That was a real character builder and a big step in the right direction.”
A balanced scoring attack has led the way for the Whippets. Three players are averaging in double figures, led by Kacie Carollo. The freshman and daughter of UW-Whitewater women’s basketball coach Keri Carollo, leads the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game. Abby Grosinske and Allison Heckert are right behind at 12.1 and 11.2, respectively.
Ketterhagen underwent ACL surgery last summer but is expected back in the next couple weeks, Harms said. Ketterhagen averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season.
Whitewater has won four straight on the road, including an impressive 58-47 conference win at Brodhead.
“Our guard play has been awesome during the winning streak,” Harms said. “If we can get Ali back into the mix within the next couple of weeks, that’s only going to help.
“This team needed to find themselves and create an identity, and they’ve done that.”
Here’s a look at three area games being played over the next couple nights:
Janesville Craig (3-3) at Lake Geneva Badger (7-1), girls, nonconference, 7 p.m., today—These two programs have not met since the 2014-15 season, when Craig won 62-37 in a WIAA Division 1 regional final game.
Badger started the season 6-0 before losing its first game to Burlington last week. The Badgers then suffered a second straight defeat in a nonconference game at Watertown on Tuesday.
Courtney Oomens is averaging 14.0 points per game to lead Badger.
“They’ve got a nice frontcourt with a 6-foot-2 and a 6-0 post players,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “And they’ll come after you defensively with a fullcourt trap before they fall back into their 2x3 zone.
“I think more than anything, it’s nice to get out of our conference the next three games and play three teams with good records. It will give us a good indication of where we’re at.”
Craig has a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The Cougars are coming off an 86-63 Big Eight win over Beloit Memorial in which Cassie Goswick continued her torrid outside shooting. The sophomore has made 14 3-pointers over the last two games.
Goswick leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game, while junior Emily Pierson is at 14.0 per game.
Best guess: Craig 62, Badger 49
Walworth Big Foot (6-3, 5-2 Rock Valley) at Whitewater (7-2, 6-1), girls, 7:15 p.m., today—Second place is on the line as both teams look to keep pace with first-place Jefferson.
Big Foot has won three of its last four thanks to the strong play of Reagan Courier and Courtney Schoenbeck, who are averaging a combined 30.1 points per game.
Whitewater has won six straight after starting 0-2. The four-time defending Rock Valley North champions are led by the freshman Carollo, who is scoring 14.4 points per game.
Best guess: Whitewater 57, Big Foot 51
Edgerton (4-2, 3-2 Rock Valley) at Brodhead (3-4, 2-3), boys, 7:15 p.m., Friday—Both teams have aspirations of finishing in the upper half of the conference.
Edgerton’s Jacob Fox ranks fifth in the conference in scoring at 18.0 points per game.
The Crimson Tide’s signature win was a 56-46 victory over two-time defending Rock Valley South champion Beloit Turner, and they added a rivalry victory over Evansville on Tuesday night.
The Cardinals’ Justice Tway is second in the conference in scoring at 21.3 points per game, while teammate Brekan Day sits at 16.3.
Brodhead has lost four straight after starting the season 3-0.
Best guess: Brodhead 67, Edgerton 63