By Bud Milroy
Coming off a blowout loss to The Prairie School of Racine Jan. 30, the Catholic Central High School girls basketball team needed to get the right mindset again quickly.
The Lady ’Toppers did just that, improving to 2-0 in the Metro Classic Conference with a 48-41 win over Racine Lutheran at home.
“We bounced back nicely following the loss to Prairie earlier in the week,” said CCHS coach Jeff Behrens. “I’m proud of how hard the girls are working and competing every night.”
It took a while for Catholic Central to get going offensively against Lutheran (2-10 MCC), but the defense was there from the start.
“I think we played well defensively all night, but especially in the first half,” said Behrens.
It took the Lady ’Toppers almost six minutes to score before tallying their first points on a short jumper by Ali Wiemer. Tori Kempken’s 3-pointer was the only other score for Catholic Central in the quarter, but the Lady ’Toppers trailed just 9-5.
The sluggish offense by both teams continued in the second quarter, and the Crusaders took a 19-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Whatever Behrens said at halftime worked, as Catholic Central opened the third quarter on fire. Wiemer hit a mid-range jumper with the opening possession, then Sophie Foote’s teal led to Kelsey Robers’ driving basket moments later. Foote came up with another steal and drive to even the score just over a minute into the second half.
Racine Lutheran scored the next five points to go back ahead, but then Foote temporarily took over the game. She opened an 8-0 personal run with a layup in CCHS’s half-court set, and then followed with another layup and drew a foul and completed the three-point play.
Natalie Rach’s teal and outlet to Foote produced an-other basket, and then closed out the period with a free throw to send the Lady ’Toppers to the fourth quarter with a 30-28 advantage.
With the Lady ’Toppers lead still at two with four minutes to play, Robers drained a bomb to make the lead five. The final three and a half minutes turned into a free-throw demonstration. Foote knocked down five from the charity stripe, while the Robers’ sisters each added a free throw to secure the win. Ellie Czerwinski’s basket in the final seconds made the final score 48-41.
Foote led all scorers with 24 points on six baskets, and hit 12 of 18 free throws. Kelsey Robers added 12 points.
On Jan. 30, Prairie took control of the game early. CCHS was held to just one first-quarter point and three for the entire first half.
“We had a terrible first half offensively,” Behrens said. “We continued to battle through, and in the second half, did much better.
“Prairie is a very good team.”
Gabrielle Ortiz scored 15 of her game-high 18 points in the first half. Wiemer and Kelsey Robers packed CCHS with seven points each.
The Lady ’Toppers are on the road today facing St. Catherine’s in Racine. CCHS will return home to face St. Thomas More on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Lady ‘Toppers rebound to down Racine Lutheran
By Bud Milroy