Courtney Schoenbeck came through when needed Thursday night.
The Big Foot High senior overcame a poor-shooting night when she hit both free throws with 1.8 seconds left to give the Chiefs a 54-52 victory over Whitewater in a key Rock Valley Conference girls basketball game on the Whippets’ court.
Schoenbeck was just 2-of-7 from the field in the first half. Her father, and Big Foot head coach, Rick, made a suggestion at halftime.
“I told her to quit shooting from the outside,” Rick Schoenbeck said. “We told her to get inside because she’s strong, and in the second half she was passing the ball better and working hard inside instead of shooting from the outside.”
That helped the Chiefs erase a five-point halftime deficit.
“We were playing their game instead of our game,” Rick Schoenenbeck said. “We knew this was going to be a tough game on the road, and we have struggled from the outside on the road. We didn’t have any transition points, and that’s our game. We have to attack even if the other team is playing more conservative defense.”
Both teams are now 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the Rock Valley, trying to chase down unbeaten Jefferson.
The score was tied at 52 when the Chiefs stole the ball with just 3 seconds left on the clock.
Schoenbeck got the ball on the inbounds pass and went inside, where she was fouled. She hit the deciding free throws, lifting Big Foot to victory.
The play came after both Miranda Reynolds and Jaden Henneman had fouled out for Whitewater.
“In the end that really hurt our execution during crunch time,” said Whitewater coach Judy Harms. “Along with a poor night rebounding.”
Sophomore Reagan Courier, the Chiefs leading scorer this season, also struggled to start the game, making just one of her first four shots. But she was lights out after halftime to finish with a game-high 18 points, including 10 from the free throw line.
“Last game my free throws were awful,” Courier said. “I’ve been shooting them in practice all week so I felt confident from there.”
“She brings everything,” Schoenbeck said of Courier. “She has the speed, desire, the ability to score, she does it all. She brings all aspects of the game.”
The Chiefs were 16 of 18 from the line in the second half.
Abby Grosinske had 16 points to lead the Whippets, while freshman Kacie Carollo had 10.
The Chiefs’ win will have major implications on the Rock Valley Conference and allow the Chiefs to keep fighting for the title.
Schoenbeck said the Chiefs will take each game one at a time and focus on the details.
“We had a tough start to our road schedule so we have to get better on the road,” he said. “We can’t have a bad night from here on out.”
BIG FOOT 54, WHITEWATER 52
Big Foot (54)—Schoenbeck 3-5-11; R. Courier 4-10-18; Demco0-1-1; P. Courier 5-0-10; Foster 4-1-9; Gonzalez 0-1-1; Larson 1-0-2; VandeBogart 1-0-2. Totals: 18-18-54.
Whitewater (52)—Heckert 2-0-5; Grosinski 5-4-16; Carollo 3-4-10; Henneman 3-3-9; Reynolds 4-0-8; Zimdars 1-0-2; Skindingsrude 1-0-2. Totals: 19-11-52.
Three-point goals—Big Foot 0, Whitewater 3 (Grosinski 2, Heckert 1). Free throws missed—Big Foot 4, Whitewater 3. Fouls—Big Foot 13, Whitewater 16.