Courtney Schoenbeck is headed to the University of South Dakota next season.
First, though, she’s got one year left to help the Big Foot High girls basketball team hoist a conference championship—and maybe more.
So far, so good.
Schoenbeck starred with 20 points Tuesday, and Big Foot dominated the offensive glass to secure a 67-55 win over visiting Clinton in an early-season battle between two of the Rock Valley Conference’s four unbeaten teams.
Big Foot (3-1, 3-0 RVC) scored at least 62 points for the fourth straight game but was dogged by foul trouble and struggled at times to finish open looks. But the Chiefs gathered 27 offensive rebounds, which kept the points flowing despite a 29.8 shooting percentage.
Those frequent second—and sometimes third and fourth—chances helped Big Foot build a 30-17 lead by halftime. The advantage got as large as 24 points in the second half. Reagan Courier finished with 18 points, and Yesenia Gonzalez had 11.
“The offensive rebounds will get us 67 points,” Big Foot coach Rick Schoenbeck said. “We want to push the ball; we want to score in transition. I don’t even want to set up offense.”
Clinton (2-1, 2-1) shot 35.4 percent in its first loss of the season. Junior Molly Kemp worked inside for 16 points, a season-high, and sophomores Elizabeth Kalk and Addyson Ciochon each added 12. The Cougars started just one senior—Payton Severson—who scored nine points.
“We’ve got a young team. We’ve got a team that hasn’t played together,” first-year Clinton coach Kim Ciochon said. “They’re kinda still adjusting to each other.”
“Big Foot’s a great team. We expected them to be a good team, we scouted them pretty well. The girls were up for the challenge and I think they met it pretty well.”
The Cougars, who at one point went six minutes without a field goal in the first half, pulled within nine points twice in the second half but couldn’t get closer. Big Foot went on a late 7-0 run, and Courtney Schoenbeck hit a 3-pointer with 5:21 left to extend the lead to 61-39.
Schoenbeck, who announced Friday on Twitter she’d committed to Division I South Dakota, played in only three games last season after suffering a torn ACL in a Thanksgiving tournament.
She successfully rehabbed her knee and continues to work her way back to full health.
“I’m really excited. It’s a really a big step, (going from) a small school to a big-time DI school,” Schoenbeck said. “I like their style and the girls and the atmosphere there. It’s kinda like here, where everyone gets along.”
The Chiefs stayed afloat without the 5-foot-10 guard after her injury, finishing 17-7 overall and 12-4 in conference a season ago.
But there’s no doubt: Big Foot is a better team when Schoenbeck is in the lineup. The senior can fill any role offensively and routinely guards the opposing team’s best player.
“She wants to win as bad as anyone,” Rick Schoenbeck, Courtney’s father, said. “She tries to help the team ... but when she needs to take over she will.”
The Chiefs have big aspirations this season, starting with winning a conference title.
“I think this team will be set up to do that. We’re a little young, but I think we’re athletic,” Rick Schoenbeck said. “We’ve never won a regional title here, and that’s our long-range goal for this season.”
Big Foot will put its unbeaten conference record on the line Friday at Jefferson. Clinton returns home to play East Troy that same night.
BIG FOOT 67, CLINTON 55
Clinton (55)—Kalk 5-0-12, Welte 2-1-5, Ciochon 4-3-12, Brewer 0-1-1, Severson 4-0-9, Kemp 7-2-16. Totals: 22-7-55.
Big Foot (67)—Schoenbeck 6-6-20, R. Courier 5-8-18, Larson 1-0-2, Gonzalez 5-1-11, Demco 2-1-6, P. Courier 2-1-6, Foster 1-0-2, Lueck 1-0-2. Totals: 23-17-67.
Clinton 17 38—55
Big Foot 30 37—67
Three-point goals—Clinton 4 (Kalk 2, Ciochon 1, Severson 1); BF 4 (Schoenbeck 2, Demco 1, P. Courier 1). Free throws missed—Clinton 9, BF 8. Total fouls—Clinton 19, BF 18.