The free-throw line was the difference Thursday night in the battle for first place in Rock Valley Conference girls basketball.
East Troy made 31 of 50 free throws in pulling away for a 69-62 win over Whitewater.
The Trojans ran their winning streak to five and took over sole possession in the Rock by improving to 5-0 in the conference.
Whitewater saw its four-game winning streak snapped in falling to 4-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
Freshman Grace Lomen led four Trojans in double figures with a game-high 18 points. Teammate Gracie Moker chipped in 16.
Abby Grosinske had 15 points to lead Whitewater, which battled foul trouble throughout.
The Whippets had two players foul out and three others finished the game with four fouls.
“The fouls put some of our better players on the bench, and I think that got in their heads a little bit because they weren’t sure what was and wasn’t going to get called,” Whitewater first-year coach Kristen Lippens said.
“And because of that, we didn’t connect very well on offense. But that happens, and you have to learn to adjust.
“East Troy’s a good team, and things didn’t go our way.”
Whitewater trailed by five at half but got within two with 11:10 to play on Catherine Skindingsrude’s 3-pointer that made it 35-33. East Troy responded with a 10-3 run to push the lead to nine, and Whitewater got no closer than five after that thanks to a parade to the line by the Trojans.
East Troy made 21 free throws in the second half.
The Trojans used a 10-3 run to end the first half to take a 26-21 lead. Lomen had 10 points in the half to lead all scorers.
The 3-point shot kept the Whippets in striking distance. Whitewater made four 3s in the first half, including back-to-back 3s by Jocelyn Beecroft to start the game. The Whippets finished with eight 3s, but it was not enough as the disparity at the free-throw line proved costly.
“Tonight wasn’t our night, but I’m pleased with the way the season has started,” Lippens said. “We’re young, but we’ve got some talent to go along with some veteran leadership.”
EAST TROY 69, WHITEWATER 62
Whitewater (62)—Beecroft, 3-1-9; Grosinske, 7-1-15; Carollo, 4-0-10; Laue, 5-0-11; Schumacher, 1-0-3; Henneman, 0-4-4; Sellnow, 1-0-2; Skindingsrude, 3-0-8. Totals: 24-6-62.
East Troy (69)—Rice, 3-7-14; Moker, 5-4-16; Lindow, 1-12-14; A. Lomen, 1-0-2; G. Lomen, 6-5-18; Scruek, 0-2-2; Golabowski, 1-1-3. Totals: 17-31-69.
Whitewater 21 41—62
East Troy 26 43—69
Three-point goals—Whitewater 8 (Beecroft 2, Carollo 2, Skindingsrude 2, Laue, Schumacher), East Troy 4 (Moler 2, G. Loman, Rice). Free throws missed—Whitewater 12, East Troy 19. Total fouls—Whitewater 27, East Troy 19. Fouled out—Carollo, Henneman.