The race is officially on in the Rock Valley Conference.
Courtney Schoenbeck scored 25 points Thursday to lead host Walworth Big Foot to a 58-52 girls basketball victory over previously unbeaten Jefferson.
With the win, Big Foot improved to 10-2 in the conference. Jefferson suffered its first loss and is 11-1 in league play. Four-time defending Rock Valley North champion Whitewater and McFarland are both two games back at 9-3.
“We knew that to have any chance at winning conference, we had to beat them here,” Schoenbeck said.
Big Foot led by 12 points at halftime and stretched the lead to 15 early in the second half before Jefferson stormed back. The Eagles cut the lead to one at 51-50 with 2:23 to play, but the Chiefs scored seven of the last eight points.
in the game to hang on.
Schoenbeck’s season-high point total included a perfect 6-for-6 performance at the line.
“Both teams were really energetic, and it was a very physical game,” Schoenbeck said. “I think at the end it just came down to who wanted it more.”
Leading 25-21 with five minutes left in the first half, Big Foot (11-5 overall) went on an 11-3 run to open up a 36-24 halftime lead. Schoenbeck had 15 points in the first half, including making three 3-pointers.
The lead swelled to 15 at 45-30 on sophomore Reagan Courier’s basket with 12:33 remaining, but Jefferson then clamped down defensively and went on a 20-6 run to slice the margin to one.
Courier’s free throw with 1:55 to play made it 52-50, and Payton Courier’s two free throws with 1:28 to play made it a two-possession game at 54-50.
Jackie Luengas made two free throws with 52 seconds to play cut the Eagles’ deficit in half once more, but Schoenbeck’s layup off a press break with 44 seconds left made it a four-point game again. And Schoenbeck finished the scoring with two free throws.
Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said his team showed poise in knocking off the unbeaten Eagles.
“It comes down to learning how to win, and that’s something we’ve been practicing just for situations like this,” he said. “We didn’t run our offense exactly like we wanted as far as taking advantage of the backdoor cuts, but we ran it effectively, I thought.
“Jefferson’s a good team, and this was a game we had to have. Courtney was able to take advantage of some mismatches down low, even though that’s not her position.”
Parker Fetherston had 20 points to lead Jefferson, while Reagan Courier added 15 points for Big Foot before fouling out.
Looking ahead to potential pivotal matches in the conference race, Jefferson hosts Whitewater in a makeup game Feb. 6 and hosts McFarland on Feb. 13. Big Foot plays at Turner on Tuesday and then hosts McFarland in a pivotal matchup Feb. 2.
BIG FOOT 58, JEFFERSON 52
Jefferson (52)—O. Ganser 2-1-5; Morrison 5-3-15; Luengas 1-2-5; Fetherston 5-8-20; Truman 3-1-7. Totals: 16-15-52
Big Foot (58)—Schoenbeck 8-6-25; R. Courier 5-5-15; Demco 2-2-6; P. Courier 2-2-6; Foster 2-0-4; Gonzalez 1-0-2. Totals: 20-15-58
Jefferson 24 28—52
Walworth Big Foot 36 22—58
3-point goals—Jefferson 5 (Morrison 2, Fetherston 2, Luengas), Big Foot 3 (Schoenbeck 3). Free throws missed—Jefferson 5, Big Foot 5. Total fouls—Jefferson 18, Big Foot 19. Fouled out—Luengas, R. Courier, P Courier.